Cleveland Browns Tight End Becomes First White Player to Kneel During National Anthem

Members of the Cleveland Browns kneel during the national anthem before an NFL preseason football game between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) ORG XMIT: CDS10w3z

Monday night’s preseason game between the Browns and Giants won’t be remembered because Cleveland eked out the win, but because before the game, 12 Browns 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.

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 said, via ESPN.com. “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.”

DeValve’s decision to kneel comes days after Seahawks center Justin Britt, who is white, stood next to kneeling teammate Michael Bennett and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“It saddens me that in 2017 we have to do something like that,” DeValve continued. “I personally would like to say that I love this country. I love our national anthem. I’m very grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this courtly and serve this country. I want to honor them as much as I can.

“The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody. I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee.”

Five more Browns’ players stood nearby in solidarity and put their hands on the shoulders of those kneeling.

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Source: CBS Sports