On Monday night, Cleveland Browns’ tight end Seth DeValve became the first white player to take a knee during the national anthem since Colin Kaepernick first kicked off the wave of pro-football player protests last year. He and his teammates took a knee in prayer during the anthem, as linebacker Christian Kirksey explained to reporters.
“We were saying a prayer,” Kirksey said. “If anyone was wondering what was going on, we were saying a prayer. We were praying over the country, praying over things that’s going on.”
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) August 22, 2017
The protest comes after Seattle Seahawks’ defensive end Michael Bennett called on white players to stop quietly supporting their black teammates and actually get involved. “It would take a white player to really get things changed,” Bennett told reporters. “Because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it … it would change the whole conversation.” Chris Long, a defensive end for the Eagles, put his arm around his black teammate Malcolm Jenkins during the anthem, though he did not join Jenkins in raising his fist in silent protest. But DeValve knelt alongside nearly a dozen of his teammates on Monday, making it the largest anthem protest by a single team so far.
“It’s our responsibility to do something,” DeValve said. “It wasn’t a protest of praying. We took the opportunity to pray for our country and for the men and women in this country at that time.”
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) August 22, 2017
Social media had some thoughts.
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) August 22, 2017
Woah. A ton of Browns kneeling during the national anthem here pic.twitter.com/Qv6qSPs6kX
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) August 22, 2017
— Caraun Akinó Reid (@ChopReid) August 22, 2017
Devalve is a trust funded POS spitting in the faces of veterans.
— GREG (@buttercap32) August 22, 2017
The Browns had this to say.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 22, 2017