Ravens national anthem singer resigns amid controversy

FILE - In this Sunday Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, Baltimore Ravens players, including former player Ray Lewis, second from right, kneel down during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London. Joey Odoms, a combat veteran who has been the Ravens' national anthem singer for the past three years, announced his resignation as debate continues about players kneeling during the national anthem. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

BALTIMORE (AP) — A combat veteran who has been the Baltimore Ravens’ national anthem singer for the past three years has announced his resignation as debate continues about players kneeling during the national anthem.

The move by Joey Odoms comes days after players on the Ravens and many other NFL teams took a knee during the national anthem in response to President Donald Trump’s call for team owners to fire players who don’t stand for the anthem.

Odoms is a former member of the Maryland Army National Guard. He won a 2014 competition to become the anthem singer at Ravens’ home games.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Odoms said his resignation “is not an emotional reaction to recent events, rather an ethical decision.”

Odoms told WJZ News that he is not offended by the players’ actions, but did not want to get mixed up in the controversial discussion.

“I support the protest personally — I fought for that right, but I don’t like people using people like me to attack those people who are exercising their right,” he said.

“If I express how I feel, a segment of the fan base would attack me,” he said.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Odoms is a former member of the Maryland Army National Guard, not a current member.