During the playing of the National Anthem, 11 Cleveland Browns players huddled on the sideline before Monday night’s exhibition game against the New York Giants.
Some players kneeled in protest while others stood, placing their hands on the shoulders of their teammates.
"We just decided to take a knee and pray for the people who have been affected and just pray for the world in general,” Browns rookie Jabril Peppers said.
Peppers, Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, Christian Kirksey, Seth DeValve, Jamie Collins, Kenny Britt, Ricardo Louis and Jamar Taylor knelt near the Browns’ bench, according to Cleveland.com while DeShone Kizer, Shon Coleman, Britton Colquitt and Jason McCourty stood by the kneeling group.
"We did it out of respect... No disresepct for anyone. We just felt like it was the right time and the need to do it,” Kirksey said.
The Browns organization released a statement after the Browns 10-6 win over the Giants that supported its players’ right to protest while expressing the team’s respect for servicemen and women and the United States.
"As an organization, we have profound respect for our country's National Anthem, flag and the servicemen and service women of the United States and abroad. 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."
Non-protesting players placing their hands on their protesting teammates in solidarity rises from last week’s exhibition games when Philadelphia Eagles’ Chris Long placing his hand on the shoulder of seated teammate Malcolm Jenkins and Seattle Seahawks’ Justin Britt placing his hand on a seated Michael Bennett for the playing of the National Anthem.
The Browns next exhibition game is at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
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