Feel free to take a knee all you want, boys. I’ll feel free to boycott another NFL season.
The 11 players knelt in a circle behind the Browns bench, and five other Browns players stood nearby with a hand on a kneeling teammate’s shoulder in an apparent sign of support.
The 11 players who knelt were tight end Seth DeValve (base salary $540,000), running back Duke Johnson Jr. (base salary $642,500), running back Terrence Magee (base salary $615,000), safety Jabrill Peppers (base salary $465,000 plus $1,415,361 signing bonus), safety Calvin Pryor (base salary $1,587,716), cornerback Jamar Taylor (base salary $2,500,000), receiver Kenny Britt (base salary $4,000,000), receiver Ricardo Louis (base salary $540,000), linebacker Chris Kirksey (base salary $3,797,000 plus $1,365,625 signing bonus), linebacker Jamie Collins (base salary $4,750,000 plus $1,250,000 signing bonus), and running back Isaiah Crowell (base salary $2,746,000). Crowell was not in uniform.
The five who stood alongside the circle were punter Britton Colquitt (base salary $1,650,000), cornerback Jason McCourty (base salary $1,500,000 plus $625,000 signing bonus), quarterback DeShone Kizer (base salary $465,000 plus $434,712 signing bonus), defensive tackle Trevon Coley (base salary $465,000) and offensive tackle Shon Coleman (base salary $568,000 plus $196,884 signing bonus).
The Browns issued a statement that read, “As an organization, we have a profound respect for our country’s National Anthem, flag and the servicemen and servicewomen in the United States and abroad. We feel it’s important for our team to join in this great tradition and special moment of recognition, at the same time we also respect the great liberties afforded by our country, including the freedom of personal expression.”
None of the Giants players knelt during the national anthem.
According to SB Nation:
After the game, Kirksey said the players were “praying over their country.” (Remember the controversy when Tim Tebow prayed? SMH.)
“We’re not protesting. We’re not doing anything like that,” Carr said, via the Los Angeles Times. “What we wanted to do is show all the kids that look up to me, look up to him that white kids, black kids, brown kids, blue, green — it doesn’t matter — can all be loving to each other. And that’s what me and Khalil are. We’re best friends, and we love one another.”
Kizer didn’t join in the prayer but said he saw “an opportunity with my guys, to support them,” by standing with them during the anthem. He then turned the focus back to winning by saying, “Right now we gotta make sure football is about football, not about making a bunch of statements.”