A week after Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson said “I would hope that we don’t have those issues” in regards to kneeling for the national anthem, the Browns had the largest group of players kneel for an anthem to date.
Before Monday night’s preseason game against the New York Giants, more than a dozen Browns players either kneeled for the anthem or showed support for their teammates who did by putting a hand on their shoulder.
Jackson did clear up his initial comments about anthem protests according to Cleveland.com. He said he didn’t express himself well enough when he first spoke on the issue. Jackson said last Thursday that each individual is free to peacefully protest and, “There are issues in our country right now that are far bigger than football and I understand and respect that these issues impact our players and will compel them to react in many different ways.”
Tight end Seth DeValve indicated it wasn’t a protest along the lines of what Colin Kaepernick kneeled for last season. DeValve said the Browns players were taking “the opportunity pray for our country.”
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) August 22, 2017
It was a scene unlike any other we’ve seen so far for the anthem.
Woah. A ton of Browns kneeling during the national anthem here pic.twitter.com/Qv6qSPs6kX
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) August 22, 2017
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) August 22, 2017
The Browns put out a statement during the game that seemed to be saying they wanted players to stand for the anthem but then acknowledged their freedom to express themselves. From Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 22, 2017
Quarterback DeShone Kizer, who stood next to his teammates as they took a knee, also said they were praying and he wanted to support them. After a full year of debate about Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem, it will be interesting to see the reaction to the Browns’ apparent prayer on Monday night.
– – – – – – –