A week ago, Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson said he “would hope” his players all stand for the national anthem rather than taking a knee in protest.
“I think everybody has a right to do, and I get it, but the National Anthem means a lot to myself personally, the organization and our football team,” Jackson said. “I hope — again I can’t speak, I haven’t really talked to our team about it — I would hope that we don’t have those issues.”
Well, so much for that. On Monday, a group of Browns took a knee prior to their preseason game against the New York Giants.
Included in the group to protest during the anthem was former Michigan standout, Jabrill Peppers.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) August 22, 2017
Woah. A ton of Browns kneeling during the national anthem here pic.twitter.com/Qv6qSPs6kX
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) August 22, 2017
After being called out for his comments by Shannon Sharpe of Fox Sports 1, Jackson clarified, stressing that he believes his players have the right to a peaceful protest.
“Our players know that I have a great appreciation for every single one of them. I respect and support their right for peaceful protest; a right afforded to every American. We’ve always made it clear to our players that they should embrace the platform they have as NFL players to improve our community and use their platform in a positive, thoughtful and responsible manner.” Jackson said. “There are issues in our country right now that are far bigger than football and I understand and respect that these issues impact our players and will compel them to react in many different ways.”