YOUNGSTOWN, OH (WOIO) –
It was a silent protest that has made a big noise across the country.
“The National Anthem is 2 minutes. Stand! Really. People have given their lives,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.
Nearly a dozen Browns players knelt in a circle and prayed in silent protest during the anthem before a preseason home game August 21.
“You have a right to protest wherever you want. I’m all for legal protest. I draw the line here,” Greene said.
Greene is drawing the line, and pulling his deputies.
“I’m just making a little bit of a stand here, that’s all.”
Deputies will no longer be able to work security at browns games.
“I just think it stinks they did it,” Greene said.
The Sheriff says he was already concerned about the liability issue of having his deputies travel to Cleveland to work security for the games. He says the protest was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“I was very angered by it. I don’t think it was right. This is not an issue of race or police. This is an issue about the American flag and our veterans,” Greene explained.
He says the 15-20 deputies who were working security at the Browns games have been supportive of his decision to end the practice. He says he’s largely had positive feedback from community members as well.
“One deputy even says he stands a little taller in his shoes now after I made that decision.”
Sheriff Greene told the Browns on August 22, he says to make sure they had enough time to replace his deputies with other security guards.
The Sheriff isn’t the first to pull his officers since the protest.
The President of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association says officers and paramedics won’t hold a large U.S flag during pregame ceremonies prior to Sunday’s Browns season opener.
READ MORE: Cleveland19.com
Article Courtesy of WOIO Cleveland 19 News
Picture Courtesy of Joe Robbins and Getty Images