BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Head coach Hue Jackson believes in free speech and the right to protest, he just hopes none of his players do it on his watch with the Browns.
Following Monday’s practice, Jackson was asked what his reaction would be, or how would he handle the situation if one of his players chose to protest in any form – sitting, kneeling etc. – during the National Anthem.
“I think everybody has a right to do, and I get it, but the National Anthem means a lot to myself personally, the organization and our football team,” Jackson said. “I hope – again I can’t speak, I haven’t really talked to our team about it – I would hope that we don’t have those issues.”
The question arose following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend and the decision by Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett to announce that he will sit during the anthem going forward. Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch also sat during the anthem, but he’d been doing that for a while.
“I understand there is a lot going on in the world,” Jackson said. “I like to just keep it here. What we deal with, we try to deal with as a team in our closed environment. We talk about things.”
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protested during the anthem last year in the wake of the shooting deaths of unarmed African-Americans by police. Kaepernick remains unsigned and there are many who believe that is a direct result of his decision to protest.
Jackson seems pretty confident that there won’t be any protesters on his team – either by choice or an indirect order from the organization.
“Hopefully, that won’t happen,” Jackson said. “I can’t tell you it won’t happen, but I just know our guys, and I don’t think that is where our focus is. We hope the things that are going on in the world get ironed out, but I know right now we are doing everything we can to get our football team better.”