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CLEVELAND (AP) — Kneeling and bowing their heads, the Cleveland Browns bonded over something bigger than football.

More than a dozen players formed a circle on the team’s sideline Monday night and prayed in silent protest during the national anthem.

The group, which included veterans, rookies, starters, and backups, gathered in front of some water coolers and behind their teammates who stood on the sideline shortly before the Browns hosted the New York Giants.

In the aftermath of the recent racially charged conflict in Charlottesville, the Browns felt compelled to use their platform to make a difference.

“I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country,” said tight end Seth DeValve, one of two white players to participate. “And also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do. And that’s why I did what I did.”

Linebackers Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey, running backs Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, Terrance Magee and Brandon Wilds, safety Jabrill Peppers, DeValve, wide receivers Kenny Britt and Ricardo Louis and defensive back Calvin Pryor dropped to one knee in a huddle. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, offensive tackle Shon Coleman, punter Britton Colquitt, defensive back Jason McCourty and offensive lineman Marcus Martin stood and supported their teammates by putting their hands on their shoulders.

Colquitt also placed a hand over his heart as Kirksey led the group in prayer.

“As professional athletes, in our realm and with our platform, we can invoke a lot of change,” said McCourty, who signed with the Browns as a free agent in March after eight seasons in Tennessee. “Guys are trying to do something to stand on our platform and show people that we want to stand up for this country and show that no matter what your color is, no matter what your background is, whatever, we can all come together and work together to make it a better place.”

The protest was the largest so far in a social-consciousness movement started last season by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who became a polarizing figure for kneeling during the anthem and is currently out of the NFL. In recent days, Seattle defensive lineman Michael Bennett and Philadelphia defensive back Malcolm Jenkins also have called attention to what they feel is racial injustice in the country.

Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch also has sat during the national anthem in the preseason but hasn’t elaborated on his reasoning.

Browns coach Hue Jackson, who last week clarified previous remarks that seemed to indicate he was opposed to any demonstrations, stood behind his players.

“We respect our players; we respect the flag,” Jackson said following Cleveland’s 10-6 win. “Those guys came to me and talked to me about it before they ever made a decision to do it. That is the way we feel about it, and we have talked about this. I said at some point in time, they may, 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.”

DeValve, who is in his second season out of Princeton, said he and his teammates have had several discussions about recent racial tensions and other social issues.

He didn’t want to offend anyone with his protest.

“It saddens me that in 2017 we have to do something like that,” he said. “I personally would like to say that I love this country. I love our national anthem, I’m very grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to this country and to serve this country, and I want to honor them as much as I can.

“The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody. And I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are things in this country that still need to change. I myself will be raising children that don’t look like me, and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now.”

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

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30 thoughts on “Browns Players Kneel In Prayer During National Anthem

  1. Player’s have the right to kneel, and owners have the right to fire them…just like fans have the right to not want to watch privileged millionaires protest something that has no solution (i.e. there is no legislation, or government action that is being protested…a higher percentage of blacks are killed by cops, yes, but well over twice as many whites every year are killed by cops…no police station in the country has a policy of killing black people). It is fashionable to call everyone a klan member or a Nazi, but these are gross overstatements that say more about the racism within the speaker then the racism within the subject. Furthermore, the flag and anthem that they are protesting is about a lot more than one single issue at any one time. Are we all to protest the flag whenever one bad thing happens in the country? or a series of bad things not related to sanctioned government action? Those who died for this country did not die for an idea that blacks should be gunned down by cops, so even the faulted protests are protesting the wrong thing.

  2. Passing Through! on said:

    Mac Ben on August 23, 2017 at 2:26 pm said:

    The Browns are the worst team in the league- there is no stock to lose. These jamokes are only trying to make a name for themselves. Ask that halfbreed Kaep how that worked out. Again, protest on your own time, which is never while you are wearing the uniform. Dont like it, go play football in Africa. But…yeah can’t do that.
    Oh believe me the racist team owners have much to lose I don’t care how sorry your team is. Kap gone be alright believe that.

  3. Yes jhuf you are a troublemaking racist. Why are you even on this site. Your time would be better spent learning the meaning of racist. Now run on over to the KKK site and discuss your opinions with your kind.

  4. Passing Through! on said:

    Guest on August 22, 2017 at 1:33 pm said:
    PT, some people will never understand the cause, and will never see it the way we see things
    We’re dealing with sick minds.

  5. Mac Ben on said:

    I’d put them on the bench. Want to play on my team? Stand your rusty-blackasses up!!! Protest and exercise your freedoms on your time- not mine!

    • Passing Through! on said:

      That’s right racist, put those rusty black asses on the bench and watch you lose every f**king game while your team stock drops. Try that racist bulls**t and see how quickly your team fails. You’ve obviously learned nothing from watching trump.

      • Mac Ben on said:

        The Browns are the worst team in the league- there is no stock to lose. These jamokes are only trying to make a name for themselves. Ask that halfbreed Kaep how that worked out. Again, protest on your own time, which is never while you are wearing the uniform. Dont like it, go play football in Africa. But…yeah can’t do that. 🖕🏾

    • STFU! First off, more whites are beginning to get the memo, so fuck your comment about “rusty black asses”. It’s because of people like you, that they’re protesting. Look at your stupid ass comment about what you would do. You wouldn’t do shit, b/c you don’t have shit but a big effing mouth with a pea brain, all while hiding behind a monitor. And speaking of time, get your ass back to work and stop wasting your bosses time and money talking shit on The racist are looking for you over at the Brietbart site.

      • Mac Ben on said:

        You know better. I’m at 30,000 ft. asswipe on wireless VLAN…my boss”, Ha! Anyway, those guys are wrong. And just like Jerry Jones I’d put my word out- violate it and sit on the bench until I can get rid of you.

  6. jhuf, yes, Colin Kaepernik will have company – – company of supporters who will not lose their positions on the team. The NFL is all about money – – do you really think the billionaire owners are going to risk having mediocre teams with not top-notch players – – a resounding NO! Fans come to games to see winners – – nothing worth going to watch, no ticket sales. Trust and believe, they are paying attention and trying even now to decide on what their spin is going to be. And whatever it is, it will not result in a loss of money for them.

    • Passing Through! on said:

      There is power in numbers, every black player in the league should take a knee and let’s see what the racist owners will do. And f**k the racist ass viewers who say they won’t watch the games because of players protesting, if they’re not offend by their president embracing racism and the violent actions of the kkk and Nazi in the wake of a tragic murder they shouldn’t be offended by players protesting racism.

      • PT, some people will never understand the cause, and will never see it the way we see things. Who cares if fans say they won’t watch a game. They’re lying through their teeth. All ten of them! In addition, no one is protesting the game, the players are protesting the anthem and refuse to be a hypocrite any longer with all the injustices going on in this country. Again, low IQ #45 supporters who see nothing wrong with #45, demeaning women, being a big bully cry baby, crazy uncle donald, offensive to world leaders and members of his own party, racist, etc., yet they’re pissed because a black man refuses to stand for a racist song. Whatever! I wouldn’t stand either.

      • when did trump embrace the kkk or the Nazis? did you know bill Clinton’s mentor and al gore’s dad were actually kkk members?

    • Fans come to games to see a game not a protest
      The baseball strikes of the 80’s and 90’s bear that out
      I’m sure the owners are also considering the fallout from alienating a significant amount of their fan base

      • Passing Through! on said:

        Aka JHUFF, Racist in denial,

        If you’re okay with what trump stands for and the s**t he said behind that podium after what happen in Charlottesville, you are clearly a racist and that’s not bait that’s fact! You have a problem with players peacefully protesting racism but have no problem with your racist ass president advocating racism and police violence. If you’re not racist why does the protest against racist unjust bother you, make you upset? If you don’t like it don’t watch the damn national anthem. This isn’t about the protest this about white people sending a message, enforcing your superiority over blacks, were in charge! That’s the real message. And yes the fans are racist too, because they’re the same racist who voted for this failing ass clown they put in the white house.

      • Jhuf I told u l000xs. I do not live in deplorable conditions. Why don’t you take your trash talking, trailer living ass back to your meth lab and blow yourself up.

    • I hope more players begin to join in the protest. The more the merrier. The fight for inequality and injustice must be heard loud and clear.

    • Who’s inequality and injustice and how exactly will kneeling during the NA
      eradicate this perceived injustice Black people kill far more blacks than cops who by the way shoot more White’s than blacks and if this Country is so unjust why are AA’s especially those players afforded more opportunity than anywhere else, Unemployment, lack of quality education poor housing high crime neighborhoods, Now that’s something those affluent players can bring to attention

      • Hey foolish, Hufnsnuf- those same athletes you despise for not standing for a freakin anthem are the same ones who are working in their communities. What has your sorry ass done to help your community?

      • Passing Through! on said:

        Using racist ass logic to justify racism, blacks kill blacks so its okay for cops to kill any unarmed black person as long as they’re black. We don’t have the right to protest because ALL blacks kill each other, ALL of us.

      • [PT] you just can’t get passed your race baiting philosophy no matter what the argument you can’t help but come back to the same play book, how sad yet amusing, the highest profile police shooting involves a black cop shooting a white woman so there for whites should take to the streets protesting black racist cops killing innocent white woman

      • [Diane] lots of personality’s do things for their community’s I live in a very nice community low crime low poverty good schools big church’s American flags on porches
        How about you what’s going on in the projects?

    • People are starting to understand and stand for a worthy cause which is the refusal to sit idle while innocent lives were/are being taken by corrupt cops within a corrupt system/government. Some of us, unlike those non-intellectual #45 supporters that continue to fall for the ole oakey doke. He is such a snake oil salesman, a con man, a grifter.

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