Security has been beefed up around the statue of Ray Lewis at M&T Bank Stadium -- after petitioners demanded that it come down. So far, the petition has garnered nearly 50,000 signatures from people who believe the retired Raven disrespected the anthem by taking a knee before the Ravens-Jaguars game in London last Sunday.

The man who started the petition to remove the statue of Lewis is Eric Moniodis. The upset Ravens fan set up a page asking for signatures to help him get the statue taken down. A letter he wrote to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti can be found on the website.

In the letter, Moniodis expressed that he is heartbroken and searching for answers. He wrote, "That statue is representative of a legend, and he [Ray Lewis] no longer has a right to be called one.

Fans believe Lewis disrespected the anthem

Moniodis believes the national anthem honors the United States and the veterans who fought for it. According to Moniodis, to kneel during the anthem is disrespectful, regardless of what you are protesting.

However, during an appearance on Showtime's "Inside the NFL" Lewis vehemently denied taking a knee, saying, “I dropped on two knees — both knees — so I can simply honor God in the midst of chaos."

Ray Lewis' explanation did change Moniodis' mind, in an interview on WBFF Fox 45 he said, "he can say he was praying that's perfectly fine, but to me it doesn't matter, you know.

A couple of years ago I would have done the same thing if Tim Tebow would have kneeled during the national anthem."

Moniodis said his intentions are not political and that he is not a fan of what the president said either.

Athorities increase security presence at the stadium

Rachelina Bonacci, a spokesperson for the Maryland Stadium Authority, said the extra security has been in place since Sunday.

According to Bonacci, those in and around the plaza where statue stands will notice an increased presence of uniformed officers.

The statue was erected in 2014 to honor the 13-time pro bowler who helped the Ravens bring two Super Bowl championships back to Baltimore.

Over 200 players took a knee during NFL games last Sunday.

Many of them did so in response to President Donald Trump's tirade against players who protest during the "Star Spangled Banner." At a rally in Alabama, The former "Apprentice" star blasted players who don't stand for the anthem in a speech where he called them sons of b****** and urged team owners to fire the players.

Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee during the 2016 season to protest police brutality and social injustice in the black community.

New petition urges owner to keep the statue

A new petition was started on Thursday to keep the statue of Ray lewis in front of M&T Bank Stadium. The new petition only had about 234 signatures at the time this article was written. One supporter of keeping the statue wrote: "Whether praying or kneeling in protest, the flag represents the First Amendment and I stand behind all of them for their right to freedom of speech."