A dozen Browns players took a knee in prayer during the national anthem before Monday night’s preseason game against the New York Giants.
While the group knelt behind the bench, several other players placed a hand on a kneeling teammate’s shoulder in support.
“There’s a lot of racial and social injustices in the world that are going on right now,” rookie safety Jabrill Peppers said after the Browns’ second win in two preseason games. “We just decided to take a knee and pray for the people who have been affected and just pray for the world in general.”
Players said linebacker Christian Kirksey led the prayer.
“We did it out of respect,” Kirksey said. “No disrespect for anyone, we just felt like it was the right time and the need to do it.”
Tight end Seth DeValve, who became the first known white NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem, said recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, had a lot to do with the decision. But DeValve said it was also more involved. His wife, Erica, is African-American.
“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. “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.”
Those who took a knee were DeValve, running backs Duke Johnson Jr. and Terrence Magee, safeties Peppers and Calvin Pryor, cornerback Jamar Taylor, receivers Kenny Britt and Ricardo Louis, linebackers Kirksey and Jamie Collins, and running backs Isaiah Crowell and Brandon Wilds (who were not in uniform).
Wilds’ participation was originally overlooked but was confirmed by the team after the game, bringing the count to an even dozen players.
Those who stood nearby included punter Britton Colquitt (who also had his hand on his heart), cornerback Jason McCourty, quarterback DeShone Kizer, defensive tackle Trevon Coley and offensive tackle Shon Coleman.
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SOURCE: ESPN, Pat McManamon