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Lions fan banned by team after posting racist message

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions fan who posted a racist Snapchat after two African-American fans sat during the national anthem on Sunday against Arizona has turned in his tickets and will no longer be welcome at Ford Field, the Lions confirmed to ESPN.

His banishment was first reported by the Detroit News.

The fan posted a photo of two fans sitting during the anthem and wrote the phrase "Ignorant N-----s" underneath the post. The post then made its way to Facebook and was sent to various media outlets, including ESPN, eventually becoming public Wednesday.

The Lions initially declined comment on the specifics of the incident Wednesday before reversing course and saying the fan was no longer welcome Thursday. The Lions' initial statement said part of the team's conduct policy was to respect all fans.

"Providing our fans with a safe and enjoyable experience at all Ford Field events is of the utmost importance and an absolute priority for our organization. A core component of our guest conduct policy is the expectation that all fans are respectful and considerate to each other regardless of their personal beliefs or differences," the Lions said in a statement. "With respect to the issue in question, the Detroit Lions and Ford Field do not comment on specifics related to any alleged guest incident(s) or altercations at games or other stadium events."

Head coach Jim Caldwell supported the team's decision. "I think it was handled appropriately and I think those things happen sometimes," Caldwell said.

Defensive end Akeem Spence, when asked if it bothered him that this still happens in America, said, "Yeah, it's crazy, man, but we all weren't brought up the same way. We all weren't brought up to have the same beliefs. I feel like we're all equal no matter what skin color or race. Some people, that's not their beliefs. I can't fault them for that and they can't fault me for the way I believe. But let's all get along."

Safety Glover Quin said he was frustrated that conversations on race are still happening in 2017. "Yeah, it is. And if we're still around in 2087, probably still be having it. Fact of life," Quin said.

This is not the first time in recent years a fan has been banished from Ford Field. In 2014, a fan was banned from Ford Field after using a laser pointer during the Lions-Bills game. Two "superfans" were also kicked out of Ford Field during a 2015 game against the Bears, but they eventually returned for future games.

Detroit running back Ameer Abdullah, when seeing an initial story of the Snapchat, expressed his disappointment in the fan's actions.

This isn't the first time Abdullah has spoken up against racism. After the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month, Abdullah said he knows some fans will not root for him because of his opinions.

"Definitely, if someone doesn't like me about my stance on the situation, especially when it comes down to racial issues, then I really don't want that guy to root for me anyway," Abdullah said. "So that's something that my dad kind of taught me: Not everyone is going to like you, but stand for something or you're going to fall for anything."

Caldwell has told his players often they are free to express their views -- and they have. Reggie Bush spoke out about protests and riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and DeAndre Levy took on multiple social causes during his time with the Lions.