On Monday night, Cleveland Browns tight end Seth DeValve became the first white NFL player to protest during the national anthem when he kneeled before the team's preseason game against the New York Giants.
Nearly a dozen players on the Browns knelt during the anthem and others on the team put their arms around their teammate in a sign of solidarity. It is the largest protest by a single team seen this season.
DeValve's kneel comes just one week after Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett called for white players to participate in the national anthem protest. Eagles defensive end Chris Long has been one of the most outspoken players in regards to politics and he joined in the anthem protests by putting his arm around Malcolm Jenkins, who had his first raised in air.
DeValve explained his decision to protest with reporters after the game:
"It saddens me that in 2017, we have to do something like that. I personally would like to say that I love this country. I love our national anthem. I'm very grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this country and to serve this country. I want to honor them as much as I can. The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to its citizen that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn't provide equal opportunity to everybody and I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are things in this country that still need to change. I, myself, will be raising children that don't look like me 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. I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country and also draw attention to the fact that we have work to do. That's why I did what I did."
Watch DeValve's comments below:
The anthem protests started last season and were made prominent by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The protests have started back up in the aftermath of a white supremacist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month.