Owings Mills, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens NFL franchise sent a letter to season-ticket holders, suite holders, and sponsors addressing the increasing number of no-shows at games, and citing anti-police protests as one potential reason.
ESPN reported that the letter was signed by team president Dick Cass, and mentioned that there were empty seats when the Ravens had a rough season, but this year their record is 8-6, and the team is in the hunt for a playoff spot.
"The numbers [of no-shows] are higher, and it is noticeable," Cass wrote in the 656-word letter. "There are a number of reasons for the no-shows, but surely the one-time protest in London has been a factor."
The Ravens protested as a team on Sept. 24 when more than a dozen players knelt during the U.S. national anthem during their game in London. That was part of a league-wide protest sparked by President Donald Trump’s criticism of the protesting.
The following week in Baltimore, more Ravens protested as fans booed them, ESPN reported.
The club hasn’t participated in any other protests.
"We have responded to your concerns about the protest by re-doubling the efforts of both the organization and our players to make the Baltimore area a better community," Cass wrote.
ESPN reported that Cass reached out to a number of fans who wrote to the team or called about the protest. He also personally called many fans and met with some fans, the letter stated.
"We want the Ravens to continue to be a strong, unifying force and source of pride in our community," Cass wrote. "When the Ravens win, we can bring families and the community together. We've done that before, and we can do it again.”
The letter was sent as Baltimore finished out the regular season.
The Ravens have two home games remaining against the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals.
If the Ravens win their final two home games, they will clinch their first playoff berth since 2014.