WATCH: Browns use pre-recorded video messages from players before anthem
Browns players voiced their concerns over social injustice before a pregame anthem display of unity
In the moments preceding the Week 2 preseason game between the Giants and Browns, a dozen Cleveland players took a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustice. The group included tight end Seth DeValve, thought to be the first white player to kneel during the anthem. In response, the Cleveland police union announced that it wouldn't hold the American flag during the Browns' first regular season game.
But on Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Browns' plan for Sunday's regular-season opener would include players and coaches. But before that, the Browns showed a pre-produced segment on the FirstEnergy Stadium video boards in which players expressed concerns about racial equality in America.
This also happened before kickoff:
The players also asked owner Jimmy Haslam and his wife Dee to join them on the field during the anthem, reports Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio who adds that "The video flows directly from the message given to players by Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown" after the Giants preseason game. "He suggested that they come up with an alternative, constructive approach to communicate their concerns regarding racial equality. And so they did."
Brown reportedly told the team during that meeting, "."
After the players protested before the Giants game, team leader Christian Kirksey told reporters, "We did it out of respect. No disrespect for anyone, we just felt like it was the right time and the need to do it."
Rookie Jabrill Peppers added: "There's a lot of racial and social injustices in the world that are going on right now. We just decided to take a knee and pray for the people who have been affected and just pray for the world in general."
And DeValve, a 2016 fourth-round pick out of Princeton who is married to an African-American woman, said recent events in Charlottesville, Va., that left one woman dead and 19 injured, factored into his decision to join his teammates in protest.
"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," DeValve explained last month. "So I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country and also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do."
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