A large group of Cleveland Browns players knelt behind the sideline as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played before the team’s preseason game against the New York Giants on Monday night.
Jamie Collins, Christian Kirksey, Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, Jabrill Peppers, Calvin Pryor, Jamar Taylor, Kenny Britt, Ricardo Louis, Brandon Wilds, Terrence Magee and Seth DeValve all took a knee Monday night. DeValve became the first known white player to take a knee during the anthem.
Kneeling during the national anthem before games as a form of protesting social injustice in the United States took center stage last season when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did it. Many players have followed since, including Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch.
Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer and punter Britton Colquitt were among the players who put their hands on the shoulders of teammates who were kneeling, seemingly offering their support.
The Browns knelt despite their coach, Hue Jackson, hoping the team wouldn’t protest the anthem.
“I think everybody has a right to do, and I get it, but the national anthem means a lot to myself personally, the organization and our football team,” Jackson said Aug. 14, per Cleveland.com’s Dan Labbe. “I hope — again I can’t speak, I haven’t really talked to our team about it — I would hope that we don’t have those issues.”
But Jackson said after the game that he was OK with his player’s decision to kneel.
“We respect our players, we respect the flag,” Jackson said, per The Athletic’s Zac Jackson.”Those guys talked to me about it before they did it.”
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images