Browns Players Kneel and Pray During National Anthem in Largest Such NFL Protest to Date

During the national anthem before last night's preseason game against the New York Giants, at least 10 Browns players kneeled and prayed. It was the largest protest of its kind in the NFL.

Duke Johnson, Kenny Britt, Jamie Collins and Ricardo Louis were joined by others in a silent protest on the sideline. Other players placed their hands on their teammates' shoulders. Seth DeValve, notably, became the first white NFL player to participate in such a protest. His involvement follows Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett's recent call for white players to take an active role in national anthem protests.

Browns Coach Hue Jackson had recently discouraged his players from protesting in that way, saying, "I would hope that we don't have those issues."

After the game, Jackson again put some distance between his team and the act of protest. "As I said two days ago, we respect our players. We respect the flag. Those guys came to me before they ever made a decision to do it," he said. "That is the way we feel about it, and we have talked about this. I said at some point in time, they may [protest], 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.”

The Browns organization released an official hedge: “As an organization, we have a profound respect for our country’s National Anthem, flag and the servicemen and servicewomen in the United States and abroad. We feel it’s important for our team to join in this great tradition and special moment of recognition, at the same time we also respect the great liberties afforded by our country including the freedom of personal expression.”

If last night's display somehow disturbed your singular passion for football, you can lodge a formal complaint with the Mensa candidates at WTAM.

About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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