Christian Kirksey: Browns players were “praying over the country” with anthem gesture

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Seventeen members of the Cleveland Browns combined to make the largest group gesture during the national anthem since Colin Kaepernick first sat last preseason.

Twelve Browns players knelt to the ground in a prayer circle while five more circled around with arms on shoulders prior to Cleveland’s game against the New York Giants on Monday night. Linebackers Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins, running backs Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, Terrence Magee and Brandon Wilds, safeties Calvin Pryor and Jabrill Peppers, cornerback Jamar Taylor, tight end Seth DeValve and receivers Kenny Britt and Ricardo Louis were the 12 players to kneel in a circle. Offensive linemen Marcus Martin and Shon Coleman, cornerback Jason McCourty, punter Britton Colquitt and quarterback DeShone Kizer stood with the group.

Kirksey –  a fourth-year player that inked an extension with Cleveland in May – said the reason for the demonstration was done with respect in mind and with hopes of offering a prayer for the country.

With everything you do you have to have respect,” Kirksey said, via Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. “If anyone was wondering what was going on in that circle … we were praying over the country, praying over things that are going on and we tried to do it as respectfully as possible. We respect everything that happens with people in the military, we respect all of that. We felt it was the right time to do that.”

The Browns’ gesture also included the first white player to kneel in DeValve. Eagles defensive end Chris Long and Seahawks center Justin Britt had shown similar support to Colquitt through the last weekend of games, but DeValve is the first to take a knee, or sit.

“I will be raising children that don’t look like me,” said DeValve, whose wife is black. “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.”

Browns head coach Hue Jackson said he was informed ahead of time of his players’ plans for the evening.

“As I said two days ago, we respect our players; we respect the flag,” he said in quotes distributed by the team. “Those guys came to me and talked to me about it before they ever made a decision to do it. That is the way we feel about it, and we have talked about this. I said at some point in time, they may, and they have. I won’t know about the next game until it happens, but again, this was tonight and we will move on from there.”

While the player that began the trend of making a gesture of protest during the anthem to speak out about racial inequality remains unemployed for now, it’s more clear that ever that similar statements of protest aren’t going away any time soon.

40 responses to “Christian Kirksey: Browns players were “praying over the country” with anthem gesture

  1. Were any of the prayers about stopping pro football players from beating women, assaulting people, committing gun crimes, breaking our drug laws? Or were they just about the things that other people do?

  2. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” Matthew 6:5

  3. Oh boy ,oh boy…what a pickle now…they have trumped country with the God card…how can people freak out now about what they are doing when they are putting God above the flag?
    This should be an interesting one to see how this is seen as disrespectful.

  4. If it was a prayer circle, do it in the locker room or somewhere private. Short of Boldin explaining his reason to retire, none of them really have made mention of what they plan to do to help their cause.

  5. There’s nothing disrespectful about what they did. Today’s political and social climate demands civil disobedience on many levels. Good for them.

  6. I have rooted for this team for two years

    hoping they would bounce back.If you are going

    to claim that this is not disrespect to the flag

    wake up. Do your prayer 5 min before or 5 min after,

    Look at your bank account and tell me how you are deprived.

  7. Nope. I believe the players were disrespecting the flag. This will cause nfl fans to stop watching. Goodell better do something or else viewership will continue to decline

  8. If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray. If they turn from their wicked ways then I will heal their land. Go Browns!

  9. Great that you’re praying for our country… but when you do it in a disrespectful way (during the anthem) you lose your impact. My whole family has committed to not spending a single dollar on the NFL while they let players disrespect the flag… the flag of a country so great that it allows these mental midgets make millions of dollars to play a game.

  10. If one was to self-promote wouldn’t the possibility of more money be the motivation? Nothing these players are doing is going to make them any more cash or help them gain any more exposure that being on national tv once a week doesn’t. That narrative is lazy, find a new one. Also, if you don’t want to watch the NFL because athletes are doing more than running and jumping for your viewing pleasure, why comment on the site? That sounds like torture.

  11. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes has existed for quite a few years. They don’t choose to kneel and “pray over the country” during the national anthem. They’re quite clear on the level of disrespect it would indicate. Can somebody clue the Browns in already?

  12. Kirksey said, “We respect everything that happens with people in the military, we respect all of that. We felt it was the right time to do that.” WRONG! If you respected the military, you would not disrespect the colors that so many have died for! Find another way. Please read the flag code, and pay close attention to section 177.

  13. Do they have to do it during the National Anthem? To me that’s just as bad as everyone else. I understand what they are doing but I wish they would pick a different forum to express their concerns. Do they do it in press conferences? No. After they protest they explain themselves afterwards but why not be proactive instead of making a big show during the National Anthem. Some may disagree but I find it distasteful.

  14. If they do this in the locker room before the game, no one cares. The fact that they did this… WHEN they did it, draws attention, but also starts a discussion. Our country was founded on going against the common ways, and it won’t be popular here, but I applaud them. If that is TRULY what they were doing (and in this day and age of EVERYTHING being recorded or “miked up” then what reason would they have to lie about it) I have no issues with this. I personally respect their decision to do this, and at the time they did it, because otherwise there would be no dialogue.

    There used to be an invocation before every high school game, which has gone away. I’m not suggesting this… but maybe the national anthem before games needs to go away as well.

  15. It doesn’t apply to these mush-brained Marxist SJWs, but most saints and prophets were outspoken with the Faith. That’s what the Pentecost was about as well. That’s why Tebow was blackballed too.

    thisistheendifyouletit says:
    August 22, 2017 at 5:21 am
    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” Matthew 6:5

  16. Love it when people who’ve sat through 10 losing seasons of Browns football, haven’t seen a playoff win since 1994, endured The Drive, The Fumble, The Move — are all up in arms over a silent two minute protest by a handful of our players. Unforgivable! We’ll never watch again! Yeah right.

  17. If the message gets lost, it’s a testament to the viewers. On countless occasions, people have explained why they’re choosing to take a knee, and if that’s not a noble cause than idk what is. Tamir Rice was killed by a police officer at the tender age of 12. Grounds for a conviction correct? Not in America. So here lies the issue, and if you can’t see it, it’s moreso because you aren’t trying to. Don’t get me wrong, I like everybody else enjoy living in the confines of my own bubble, but this issue is too large to ignore. There are plenty of noble police officers who do their jobs on a daily basis, putting their lives at risk. However, there are also bad seeds, just like in any other position of power. Please exercise some compassion when you’re thinking about the reasoning behind these protests.

  18. tfootball1234 says:

    I applaud them. this is all about the toxic orange gasbag in the oval office.
    ========================================================

    So the protests before last November were about toxic Obama?

  19. rogcar2 says:

    If they do this in the locker room before the game, no one cares. The fact that they did this… WHEN they did it, draws attention, but also starts a discussion.
    ================================================================

    It starts a discussion alright, but not about the subject they protest. All you have to do it read the replies and see.

  20. Wait…why isn’t the media outraged by the prayer circle? Wasn’t Tebow chastised and made fun of for his religious beliefs? Surely the media isn’t now supporting taking a knee to praise the lord, are they?? OH…they are doing their “prayer” circle during the national anthem, so THAT is ok. I get it now.

    And in other news, the NFL ratings will continue to steadily decline to where the regular season will see it’s lowest ratings ever!

  21. Good for them. I have no problem with anyone expressing their freedom of speech in a dignified, safe, non-threatening manner, even if I disagree with it. The country has problems no matter which side of the political spectrum you might be on or the color of your skin. A group of people acknowledging those issues and making a small gesture to show that they understand is fine with me. Kneeling and praying during the Anthem is not, in my opinion, disrespectful. The song is about our country, and praying during said song is fine with me. In fact, it’s not a bad idea at all.

  22. rogcar2 says:

    If they do this in the locker room before the game, no one cares. The fact that they did this… WHEN they did it, draws attention, but also starts a discussion.

    Exactly! Thank you for the clear headed understanding of the motivation. Whether these players are thought of as privileged, spoiled or disrespectful by some is irrelevant if the action is drawing attention to what they see as an issue that is being belittled and disregarded by those in power and a good percentage of the general public.

    “To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men.”
    ― Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  23. People talk about the protests being divisive as if the national anthem’s third stanza isn’t. Though it’s been removed, that doesn’t resolve the fact Francis Scott Key promotes slavery in the lyrics. To chastise the ancestors of former slaves for not acknowledging an anthem that only acknowledges them as 3/5 a human being is nonsensical.

  24. The performance of the national anthem at a sporting event is a political act. Sure, a very conventional political act, one so commonplace we hardly even think about it. But these people saying we should take politics out of football, well, it’s there, whether you realize it or not.

  25. Why are reporters and writers covering this so much? It’s not news worthy. It does not change anything. These days one person is offended and then the rest pile on and say, “Oh me too!” What a joke. Stand. Sit or kneel…big deal!!

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