Eleven members of the Browns knelt in protest during the national anthem before Monday night’s NFL preseason game between Cleveland and the New York Giants, the Plain Dealer reported.
According to the Plain Dealer, Those who took a knee were tight end Seth DeValve, running backs Duke Johnson Jr. and Terrence Magee, safeties Jabrill Peppers and Calvin Pryor, cornerback Jamar Taylor, wide receivers Kenny Britt and Ricardo Louis, linebackers Chris Kirksey and Jamie Collins, and running back Isaiah Crowell.
DeValve became the first white player to kneel during the national anthem, CBS Sports reported.
Standing with the group were punter Britton Colquitt, who had his hand on his heart; cornerback Jason McCourty; quarterback DeShone Kizer; defensive tackle Trevon Coley; and offensive tackle Shon Coleman, the Plain Dealer reported.
The Browns improved to 2-0 in the preseason with a 10-6 victory in a nationally televised game.
“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 quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was with the San Francisco 49ers and knelt during the anthem's performance before games.
This past week, Browns coach Hue Jackson defended his players’ rights to make a statement, provided it was peaceful and he had advance notice, ESPN reported.