Before Monday night’s second preseason game, 12 members of the Cleveland Browns decided to kneel instead of stand during the national anthem. Is this a one time thing or something that could continue? We won’t know until they take the field again. One thing we do know, head coach Hue Jackson was consulted about it before Monday’s game.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 22, 2017
“We respect our players; we respect the flag,” Jackson said following Monday’s 10-6 win over the New York Giants. “Those guys came to me and talked to me about it before they ever made a decision to do it. That is the way we feel about it, and we have talked about this. I said at some point in time, they may, and they have. I won’t know about the next game until it happens, but again, this was tonight and we will move on from there.”
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 22, 2017
What is different between the Browns decision and other protests over the last year is who participated. White players including tight end Seth DeValve took part in this protest.
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) August 22, 2017
“I just want to start by saying it saddens me that in 2017 we have to do something like that,” DeValve said. “I personally would like to say that I love this country, I love our national anthem, I am very grateful for the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this country and to service this country. I want to honor them as much as I can. The United States is the greatest country in the world, and it is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody. I want to support my teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are things in the country that still need to change. I myself will be raising children who don’t look like me. I want to do my part, as well, to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment that we have right now. I wanted to take that opportunity with my teammates to pray for our country and also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do. That’s why I did what I did.”
First round pick Jabrill Peppers was a part of the protest. He was one of the players who discussed the protest with the head coach. Peppers was asked if the protests will continue did they get their point across and it’s time to move forward?
“We will just have to cross that [bridge] when it happens,” Peppers said. “Like I said before, there’s a lot of social and racial injustices going on in the world. We who have that platform have to band together to make things right.”
Number one overall pick Myles Garrett was not a part of the protest. He will support whatever decision his teammates make going forward.
“Actually, I didn’t see it, I saw it after and I heard about it, but, that’s what they are going to do,” Garrett said. “If they come to that decision, more power to them, and I respect it.”
Cleveland’s next preseason game is Saturday night in Tampa Bay. It will be interesting to see what happens if the protests continue during a road game.
“We haven’t even gotten that far. I think in the discussions throughout this week, we will see what comes of it,” cornerback Jason McCourty said. “Hopefully, it can, I did something last year. Hopefully, it can start to change things. That is the big key – you know two minutes of the national anthem as a protest, but you’d like to see the results of our day to day lives of people just getting along. It’s not even being friends; it’s just being cordial and getting along. Being in the south for the past eight years, I’ve gotten used to the southern ways and I have enjoyed being here. You walk down the street and someone just says hi to you because you’re walking past, and I think that’s where we want to get to, just people loving one another just because we are all human beings.”
“I think there is a brotherhood within our football team,” Jackson said during a Tuesday afternoon conference call. “I think they all support each other. They have the right to do that. As I said before, we respect our flag. We respect our players. I think all of our players feel that way. I think they all respect each other and support each other.”