BALTIMORE — Surreal, slightly insane day at the Ravens home stadium.
On the way into a football game, two grown men were dressed as American flags, their faces striped alternately white and red, with a blue panel on their foreheads with white stars. American flags waved from tailgates, Bob Seger and Aerosmith and other classic rock blasted from speakers. Scores of flag T-shirts and patriotic apparel, almost as many as Joe Flacco jerseys.
Twenty minutes before kickoff, to loud applause, Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” played inside MT Bank Stadium, followed by a short crowd chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” A few minutes later, with each team on its sideline, the PA announcer asked minutes before the biggest rivalry game on the schedule—the hated Steelers were in town—for the crowd to pray “for kindness, for unity, for equality and justice for all Americans.” Most of the Ravens on their sideline kneeled and bowed their heads.
The crowd booed players bowing their heads in prayer.