A police union now refuses to hold the flag at the Cleveland Brown’s home opener because players kneeled during the national anthem in pre-season games.
“It’s just ignorant for someone to do that,” Steve Loomis, President of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, told Cleveland.com on Friday. “It just defies logic to me. The fact that management was aware of what they planned on doing, that’s as offensive as it can get.”
He blamed team management for letting this happen. Now police won’t hold the flag during the opening ceremony at the Brown’s September 10 home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
At least nine players–including Kenny Britt, Jamie Collins, Isaiah Crowell, Seth DeValve, Duke Johnson, Christian Kirksey, Ricardo Louis, Jabrill Peppers, and Jamar Taylor–took a knee at a August 21 pre-season game with the New York Giants.
“Anyone who is wondering what was going on in the circle: We were saying a prayer,” Kirksey told reporters after the game. “We were just praying over the country, praying over things that’s going on, and you know, we’re trying to do it as respectfully as possible.”
DeValve, who is white, said he did it in support of his black teammates. Though he believes that the United States is the greatest country in the world, he felt it didn’t provided equal opportunity to everyone.
“We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there’s things in this country that still need to change,” he said.
The kneeling protest started last season with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality against black people.
Critics believe the protest is disrespectful of the flag. This statement from Daniel Nemeth, the president of Cleveland’s EMS union, is emblematic.
“This hit home with me,” he told Fox 8 on Thursday. “I am a veteran, an 8-year veteran with the U.S. Marine Corps. So, to disrespect the flag by taking a knee is not something I was going to be a part of.”
His union also refuses to participate in September 10’s home opener.
[Screengrab of Loomis via Fox News]