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Bills Mafia generosity amazes after Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson left game with injury

On Saturday, the Buffalo Bills met the Baltimore Ravens in western New York, facing off for their divisional playoff game. In the second half, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was forced to leave the game after sustaining an injury that triggered the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Presented with the fact that the star player of the only team standing in the way of the Buffalo Bills returning to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1994 was now out of the game, Bills fans responded by rallying to raise money for Jackson’s favorite charity, “Blessings in a Backpack.” After the game ended, with Buffalo winning 17-3, charitable donations from the “Bills Mafia” came pouring into the organization, which provides food for needy elementary school children across America.

“It started around 11:30 last night, and our donation box just started flooding with donations from Bills fans for Lamar. It’s just been overwhelming — in the best possible way,” Blessings in a Backpack’s Nikki Grizzle told ESPN.

Bills fans posted to social media encouraging others to donate $8 or more to the charity in honor of Jackson, who wears number 8, wishing him a speedy recovery as well.

Grizzle said that as of 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, more than 9,000 people had already donated over $240,000 to the charity. As of Monday morning, donations reportedly grew close to $300,000.

The Baltimore Ravens acknowledged the Bills Mafia for their magnanimity in victory.

Bills fans are earning a reputation for their generous giving. Last November, Bills quarterback Josh Allen learned that his paternal grandmother Patricia Allen had died suddenly, the day before the Bills were set to play against the Seattle Seahawks. Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott gave Allen the opportunity to sit out the game to grieve, but Allen instead elected to keep playing and led the team to a 44-34 victory over Seattle, throwing for 415 yards and three touchdowns.

After Allen’s outstanding performance, the Bills Mafia launched a fundraising campaign for the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, donating in Patricia’s name. Many fans donated in increments of $17, honoring Allen’s jersey number, and since November over $1 million has been donated to the hospital.

Grizzle summarized the charity of the Bills Mafia with a single word.

“Amazing,” she said. “And it just keeps rolling in.”

On Sunday Jan. 24, the Buffalo Bills will play against 2020 Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC Championship and the right to travel to Tampa for Super Bowl LV.

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Baltimore Ravens players stand for black national anthem — then take a knee when ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is played

Many Baltimore Ravens players stood during the playing of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” known as the black national anthem, before Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns — then took a knee when the U.S. national anthem was played, according to Outkick.

The NFL is playing the black national anthem before all of its opening week games as a part of its anti-racism initiatives, which include social justice messaging in the end zones and around the stadiums, as well as pregame presentations.

Playing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” has caused some division among players on different teams, however, as they try to decide whether to stand for both anthems, kneel for both, or remain off the field until the anthems are completed.

The Miami Dolphins announced Thursday that they would be staying in the locker room for both anthems, because they didn’t want to participate in the NFL’s “fluff and empty gestures.”

The Houston Texans did the same before their Thursday night game, with Texans safety Michael Thomas saying they made the decision because they didn’t want to be divisive by protesting one anthem and not the other.

“And today, going out for either anthem — to us, it would’ve been a distraction,” Thomas said according to ESPN. “And we just wanted to, again, make a decision as a team, and we decided it would probably be best if we all stayed in. And that’s the decision we made, and we were just going to go out there and play.”

Regardless of what the NFL’s intentions may have been for including “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” in its pregame ceremonies, it has created a dilemma for some players and supporters who have insisted that kneeling during the national anthem is not a specifically anti-American gesture; that stance becomes harder to defend when players stand for a black national anthem and kneel for the U.S. anthem.

The originator of anthem kneeling, former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, doesn’t approve of any of the league’s social justice efforts. The quarterback-turned-activist referred to it as “propaganda.”

The ratings for the NFL’s season opener were significantly lower than the previous year, and anecdotally, many fans have expressed online that they don’t want to watch the games because of the league’s heavy emphasis on social justice demonstrations.

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