Retired NFL linebacker Ray Lewis was seen on video kneeling (presumably in some form of peaceful protest against President Trump’s recent comments) during Sunday’s regular season contest between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For those who don’t remember, Lewis had one of the more interesting hot takes on free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick in early September, during what most would consider the Baltimore Ravens’ clumsily handled flirtation on signing Kaepernick.
After Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti essentially said he was crowdsourcing opinions from fans and Lewis on whether or not to sign Kaepernick, Lewis weighed in on Kaepernick’s 2016 decision to kneel in protest during the national anthem.
“And I’ve said this many times, we both agree, like, what he did, I’m 100 percent for racial justice, 100 percent,” Lewis said during a July appearance on Fox Sports’ Skip and Shannon: Undisputed. “Trust me, I lived it myself. So you don’t have to convince me of that part. How he did it? Totally different thing. I don’t totally agree with that.”
Once the Ravens officially passed on signing Kaepernick, Lewis told Judy Batista of Inside the NFL, part of the reason the team opted not to sign Kaepernick was because of a racially-charged tweet by radio personality Nessa “Ness Nitty” Diab, who is also Kaepernick’s girlfriend.
“Then, his girl [Colin Kaepernick's girlfriend] goes out and put out this racist gesture and doesn’t know we are in the back office about to try to get this guy signed,” Lewis said. “Steve Bisciotti has said it himself, ‘How can you crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?’”
As it relates to Kaepernick, the crux of “how he did it” was kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. So the pertinent question for Lewis is, if he didn’t totally agree with Kapernick’s form of protest, why did he mimic that exact same form of protest Sunday?
While players from the Jaguars and Ravens opted for taking a knee, standing with interlocking arms, or placing a hand on the shoulder of kneeling players, plenty of Twitter users were quick to hop in Lewis’ mentions for joining in what is shaping up to be #TakeAKnee weekend in the NFL.
Ray looks like that one person who shows up at altar call after going a little too hard the night before pic.twitter.com/0n6i0JXhM2— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 24, 2017
Kaep when he saw Ray Lewis taking a knee lol pic.twitter.com/oOatoqQi7n— Leed (@pc_leed) September 24, 2017
I BEEN DELIVERT pic.twitter.com/Fv9dPBzAu8— Rembert Browne (@rembert) September 24, 2017
"Ray Lewis"— Denzel Tucker (@Shimmy_Nupetron) September 24, 2017
Taking a knee now. pic.twitter.com/nPbrmmKyNh
The reaction to Ray Lewis kneeling... pic.twitter.com/c6u3YAvWiN— Slevin Kelevra 🇺🇸 (@ToeKnee2GX) September 24, 2017
It probably doesn’t help that Lewis paid an early visit to Trump’s transition offices shortly after the reality show host became Commander-in-Chief.
Sunday provided yet another reminder that Twitter never forgets, and given how wildly some NFL pundits were talking about Kaepernick last season, it’s perfectly logical to expect even the most casual of viewers to hop in their collective mentions in the wake of Trump’s comments.