A number of Cleveland Browns players knelt and huddled during the national anthem on Monday night before the preseason game against the New York Giants. Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, Jabrill Peppers, Christian Kirksey, Seth DeValve, Jamie Collins, Kenny Britt, Ricardo Louis and Jamar Taylor were among the players who knelt together behind the team near the bench.
DeShone Kizer, Shon Coleman, Britton Colquitt and Jason McCourty were among players who stood with the group. Colquitt had his hand over his heart as he stood behind the group and pointed skyward at the anthem’s conclusion.
DeValve is the first white NFL player to join players in kneeling during the national anthem, according to reports.
“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,” a Browns spokesman said in a statement at halftime. “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.”
NFL players have continued the national anthem protests made prominent last season by then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the anthem’s performance before games. Other players joined in the protests by kneeling or raising a fist.