CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – There was no repeat demonstration in Tampa Bay Saturday night by the Cleveland Browns during the national anthem.
Before the game Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown spoke to the team about a number of topics, including social activism and how to do it in a way that provides maximum impact to enhance the message, and not distract from it a source with knowledge of the meeting told 92.3 The Fan.
Browns cornerback Jason McCourty told reporters in the locker room after the game that Brown did not prohibit them from kneeling during his speech.
“He gave us another great speech that left for us to be motivated and to understand our responsibilities off the field as well as on the field,” quarterback DeShone Kizer said.
Brown, who has been critical of former 49ers and currently unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests, reminded the players not to “disrespect their country or disrespect the flag” according to the Browns radio network.
Although everyone stood for the anthem in Tampa, nearly 30 players stood arm-to-arm in a line together just in front of the Browns bench, behind the rest of the players and coaches standing closer to the field the Associated Press reported.
Head coach Hue Jackson did not see the players line up and he said after the Browns’ 13-9 win that he was not in the room during Brown’s conversation with the team.
“Honestly, I never looked back,” Jackson said. “I kept my eyes forward and sang the national anthem. I just know that our guys would handle everything respectfully. You’re not talking about anybody kneeling, so I would think that is an improvement.
“I think whatever the guys did, I support 100 percent and I’m sure they tried to handle it with class.”
A dozen players knelt and prayed during the anthem Monday night prior to their 10-6 win over the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium drawing heavy criticism from conservative fans who maintain any demonstration during the anthem is disrespectful to the country’s military.
After Monday night’s game tight end Seth DeValve and linebacker Christian Kirskey both tried to explain that their decision to pray during the anthem was an effort to not show disrespect but to pray for the social problems the country finds itself in.
The following night Kirksey along with 9 of his teammates helped raise money for underprivileged kids and handed out school supplies during a community bowling event benefiting the Boys and Girls Club and Ohio Guidestone.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)