A meeting between Browns players, team officials and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams has paved the way for police officers to take part in pregame festivities at the Browns’ season opener against the Steelers this Sunday.
Police officers were originally scheduled to hold a large American flag on the field during pregame ceremonies, but Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis said last weekend that they would not take part after a group of Browns players knelt during the playing of the national anthem before a preseason game. On Thursday, however, Browns players Christian Kirksey, Ibraheim Campbell, Seth DeValve, Randall Telfer, Jamie Collins and Ricardo Louis met with Williams to discuss ways to work with law enforcement to foster better relationships.
As a result of that meeting, the Browns will take the field with police, firefighters, emergency workers and military personnel before the game on Sunday. Loomis said, via the Associated Press, that Thursday’s meeting was one “where tough issues were respectfully discussed and viewpoints exchanged.”
“Once again Cleveland has risen above the fray and has demonstrated that respectful communication is the key to solving any problem,” Loomis said. “We can always accomplish much more good by standing, communicating and working together than we ever will by standing apart.”
A Browns spokesman said there has been discussion about players going on ride-alongs with police and to attend community meetings designed to build closer relationships with citizens as part of the effort to foster the unity sought in Thursday’s meeting.