35,000 sign petition to remove Ray Lewis statue after he knelt for anthem

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 35,000 people had signed a petition to remove a Ray Lewis statue from the Baltimore Ravens’ stadium, after Lewis knelt during the national anthem before a game with current Ravens players last Sunday.

Where to even start with this one …

The petition on Change.org was started by Eric Moniodis of Hydes. He wrote: “To kneel during (the national anthem) is disrespectful, regardless of what you are protesting. I will not stand for that kind of disrespect towards our country, especially from a legend such as Ray Lewis.” Many people obviously agreed, since the petition grew quickly.

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This confounding story doesn’t need more layers, but Lewis explained he was praying when he dropped to both knees during the anthem. He said on “Inside the NFL” that he went down on both knees to “simply honor God in the midst of chaos.” Lewis told 105.7, “I’m not in the protesting business.”

And not that the story needed even more layers, but this whole ordeal caused a social media spat between Lewis and his old teammate Shannon Sharpe, because of course it did.

And if this story needed one more head-shaking layer to it, the Baltimore Sun reported that extra security has been added near the Lewis statue to prevent anything happening to it. Really.

“There is additional security at the statue plaza at this time,” Maryland Stadium Authority spokesperson Rachelina Bonacci told the Sun. “Certainly observers can notice the presence of uniformed security officers at M&T Bank Stadium, which includes the statue plaza. The additional officers and other security enhancements have been in place since Sunday afternoon.”

So we have a large group of people petitioning to remove a statue of Lewis for protesting the anthem (nobody seemed to call for the removal of the statue because he famously pleaded guilty to an obstruction of justice charge in a case involving two murders, but kneeling for the anthem was apparently inexcusable), although Lewis claims he wasn’t protesting at all and the proof is that he was down on both knees instead of one. That explanation didn’t seem to matter to the originator of the petition, because many hours after Lewis said he was praying Moniodis posted on Change.org to thank everyone for the continued support. On top of it all, we all know that there’s no way Lewis’ statue is getting removed even if there are a million people who sign up.

And you thought we’d been over every possible angle of this national anthem story.

Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, from left, Mike Wallace, former player Ray Lewis and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley kneel down during the playing of the U.S. national anthem. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!