Mayfield — who has been adamant about kneeling during the national anthem all offseason — reversed course after watching Thursday’s game.
The 25-year-old explained his decision to stand in a lengthy letter on Twitter.
Mayfield said he changed his mind for a number of reasons. He mentioned Thursday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans. Players from both teams were booed as they linked arms for a moment of unity. Following the game, Texans pass rusher J.J. Watt said he didn’t “fully understand” why fans would boo that moment.
Baker Mayfield was inspired by Dolphins video
Mayfield also cited a video the Miami Dolphins sent out Thursday. In that video, the Dolphins criticized the NFL for not taking meaningful action to combat racial injustice in the United States. Dolphins players spoke out against empty gestures, demanding the league and its owners actually commit money to causes instead of condemning racism through patches and decals.
In his letter Saturday, Mayfield echoed that point, saying “it’s not about who is standing or who is kneeling for the anthem. But instead, coming together and taking action to create real change.”
Mayfield also cited the “many letters and messages” he received over the past couple weeks as another reason he changed his mind about kneeling.
Baker Mayfield still believes the United States needs to change
While Mayfield won’t kneel, that doesn’t mean he no longer supports what players are kneeling in protest for. Mayfield said he’s “even more passionate” about the issue. He added that the United States “is not close” to where it needs to be.
“I love this country, but these challenges and adversity are an opportunity for much needed change for issues that have been going on for far too long.” wrote Mayfield, who didn’t explicitly mention racial injustice or police brutality in his letter.
Mayfield said he decided to release the letter Saturday so “it is not a discussion on game day.” The Browns will open the season against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Mayfield will likely be asked about his decision to stand, and his letter explaining that decision, following the game.
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