The Browns may not be winning many games this year, but they’ll be 1-0 when it comes to finding a way to let players express concerns about racial equality and social justice beyond the two minutes the national anthem is playing.
Per multiple sources, the Browns will play before the anthem a pre-produced video in which players express concerns about racial equality in America. The video, roughly 30 seconds in length, includes messages from tackle Joe Thomas, quarterback DeShone Kizer, linebacker Jamie Collins, linebacker Christian Kirksey, and coach Hue Jackson, among others. It closes with tight end Randall Telfer explaining that the flag isn’t about the red, white, and blue fabric but that it’s about what the flag stands for.
The players also asked owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam to stand on the field with the team during the playing of the video and the national anthem.
The video flows directly from the message given to players by Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown after 12 of them took a knee for the anthem preceding the Week Two preseason game before the Giants. He suggested that they come up with an alternative, constructive approach to communicate their concerns regarding racial equality. And so they did.
And so should every other team in every other stadium. With the anthem currently providing players with their only opportunity to send a message, the league should urge all teams to carve out a separate spot for allowing the message to be sent in a way that undermines in no way the national anthem or the flag.
So congratulations to the Browns players and their ownership for finding a way to harmonize important social issues and the national anthem. Win or lose today or for the rest of the season, this is a huge victory for the Browns and the NFL.