A group of Browns players also took a knee for the anthem during the first game of the season, and players emerged from the tunnel and locked arms with members of the military and the Cleveland police prior to game two.
Regardless, Hildenbrand cites the most recent protests as the impetus for the decision. His full letter is below.
To All Employees,
Less than a month ago I was honored and proud to accept a certificate at the Great Geauga County Fair in the name of my uncle Charles J. Hildenbrand, who was the first Geauga County resident killed in Vietnam. The certificate and 50 yr pin was sent to Charles’ sister in California who could not attend. I was so proud to see all of the Veterans that filled the large grandstand. It was truly humbling to see so many proud, brave, men and women from many different wars in attendance.
Yesterday I attended the Browns game in Indianapolis with some friends. The stadium was almost full with 70,000 fans in attendance. During the National Anthem at least 21 Browns players kneeled as the entire stadium, made up of all races, ages, sex, religion and careers stood and removed theirs hats. All the police officers working in uniform were saluting. The fact that the team owners and NFL Commissioner condone this activity very much upsets me. As far as I am concerned almost the entire league disrespected every veteran that ever fought or died for this Country. These protests are not about unity, unity was the other 70,000 fans that stood. I truly believe this is about the Police, Law Enforcement and our government. For that reason, effective immediately any off duty details at NFL Games are prohibited.
We all have hard and sometime dangerous jobs that we work every day. Most people respect and appreciate what you all do. I did not have honor to serve but many of you have, and I thank you for that. I feel we all serve every day as our first line of defense here at home. I’m concerned when the main act stands in front of the crowd, before the game even starts, and commits a blatant disrespectful act towards our flag, our Country, our Veterans and our first responders. If they do not have respect for us and our Country only bad things will come of that. We will not be a part of these activities.
My season ticket seats will remain empty the rest of the season.
God bless all of you, and be safe.
Scott A. Hildenbrand, Sheriff
Geauga County Sheriffs Office
12450 Merritt Dr.
Chardon, Ohio 44024