The Cleveland police union boycotted the game over players’ protests.
The Browns are planning to show unity with Cleveland’s police at Sunday’s opener after the officers union boycotted the game over players protesting during the national anthem.
Union president Steve Loomis said last weekend that members of the union would not hold the American flag during Sunday’s game against the Steelers because Browns management had “allowed” a group of players to kneel during the anthem before a preseason game.
Browns players met with first responders this week and laid out a plan for what the ceremony will look like. ESPN.com’s Pat McManamon has the details:
Players, city officials and team executives confirmed this week that the Browns will be joined by Cleveland police officers, firefighters, EMTs and members of the U.S. armed forces as they run onto the field before the game.
Additionally, the organization will show a video before the national anthem aiming to express solidarity with the community and stress the importance of diversity and equality.
It was Browns players who came up with the idea for including officers in the pregame display, Cleveland.com’s Adam Ferrise reported. McManamon reports the players also asked Browns ownership to take part.
“It’s definitely going to be something that will be an optic for a national model,” Cleveland police spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia told Cleveland.com. “We want people to know we see both sides.”
A group of about a dozen Browns players kneeled during the anthem before Cleveland’s second preseason game, against the Giants. It was the largest such protest in the NFL since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem last season. Tight end Seth DeValve was the first white player to take a knee for the anthem.