BEREA, Ohio– Weeks later, controversy is still swirling around a group of Browns players who knelt during the national anthem.
A dozen players gathered to pray before their preseason game against the New York Giants on Aug. 21. It was the largest group of NFL players to not stand during the anthem since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started his protest a year ago.
For the following two games, all members of the Browns stood for the anthem with some linking arms in solidarity.
But their previous actions divided fans, and angered the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association and ILA Local 1975, representing the city’s dispatchers, EMTs and paramedics.
On Thursday, the presidents for the two unions told FOX 8 News they would not participate in pregame festivities for Cleveland’s home opener. They said the city’s safety forces were asked to hold the flag on the field, but declined because they felt the players’ actions were disrespectful.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson was asked about the reaction from Cleveland police and paramedics.
“I respect that. I have great respect for our police, and we have great relationships with them. They are entitled to say what they feel, just like I have always said about our players. They are entitled to say what they feel, and I respect that. I get it,” Jackson told reporters on Monday.
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Article Courtesy of WJW Fox 8 News Cleveland
Picture Courtesy of Joe Robbins and Getty Images