With the new football season rapidly approaching, NFL owners, players and fans are taking sides in the second year of demonstrations stated by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled all of last season during the national anthem in protest of police brutality.
A group of New York City police officers raised their fists at a rally in August in support of Kaepernick. Unlike that group of law enforcement officials, Cleveland’s police union is pushing back against the Cleveland Browns over players who kneeled during a preseason game.
Cleveland.com reports that the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association president announced on Friday that union members refuse to hold the American flag during a pregame ceremony for the team’s first game on Sept. 10.
Steve Loomis, the union’s president, said the decision not to participate in the flag ceremony came after seeing Browns players kneeling before a preseason game on Aug. 21 against the New York Giants.
“It’s just ignorant for someone to do that. It just defies logic to me,” Loomis told Cleveland.com, adding that the players benefit from the sacrifices of people who died defending the nation.
He didn’t stop there. Loomis railed against team ownership and management for condoning their “employees’” behavior, which he finds disrespectful.
However, the Browns leadership stands by their players. The organization said in a statement that it has “profound respect” for the anthem and servicemember, according to Cleveland.com.
The statement continued: “… At the same time we also respect the great liberties afforded by our country, including the freedom of personal expression.”
Sashi Brown, a Browns executive VP, told the newspaper that the players “mean well.” He stated that the organization supports the players and “really push our guys to be active and conscious about the communities they live in and what goes on around them that might be even larger than football.”