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Cleveland police back out of Browns' ceremony over National Anthem protests

06 September, 2017, 12:03 | Author: Carla Brady
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jeremy Mc Nichols runs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Thursday Aug. 17 2017 in Jacksonville Fla

And they're entitled to say what they feel just like I've always said about our players.

At halftime of the Browns' game against the Giants on August 21, when the pregame kneeling took place, the Browns explained that while they feel their players should honor the anthem, the organization makes personal freedom a priority.

Union members had planned on participating in the flag ceremony prior to the kneel-downs.

Detective Steve Loomis, president of the police union, said they weren't protesting the players personally, or their right to freedom of speech.

A Florida police union asked its members and deputies not to escort Dolphin players from the stadium after they too took a knee.




Loomis said the Browns are aware of the union's plans and sent him a statement saying they were "disappointed" the officers were not "honoring their commitment" to help hold the flag. "It's hypocritical of the Browns management and ownership to want to have an armed forces first-responder day, and have us involved in it when they allow their players to take a knee during the National Anthem".

Two weeks ago, we reported on a group of Cleveland Browns players choosing to stand, or better yet, kneel in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. "That's why we aren't going to [hold the flag]". For the first time this included two white players, one of whom, Seth DeValve, became the first white National Football League player to kneel in the protests, while Britton Colquitt stood next to the kneeling players with his hand on one of their shoulders.

"Professionally, thoughtfully, probably as thoughtfully as any others have", Brown said.

EMS Union chief Dan Nemeth said the players' decision was "deeply disturbing", and added that as athletes that children look up to, those particular Browns should "set the example for our youth".

Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown told Cleveland.com that his players "mean well" and are "active and conscious about the communities they live in and what goes on around them that might be even larger than football". Our American flag is an important symbol to our great country and we, as officers, will continue to salute it. We respect their efforts to use their platform to make some change and express themselves.

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