Thursday, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters sat during the national anthem, kicking off what is expected to be an NFL season full of demonstrations and protests.
The preseason was chock full of such instances across various teams, including the Cleveland Browns, who had a dozen players kneel during the anthem in a preseason game. That led to the very silly announcement by Steve Loomis, President of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, that police officers would not hold the flag at the Browns home opener on September 10th (thereby protesting the national anthem in order to show their distaste for those protesting the national anthem).
However, it seems as though both sides have come together. The Browns will now take the field on Sunday with local police and firefighters in a pregame unity celebration. Cleveland’s players also will run onto the field with emergency workers and military personnel. All of the groups will then stand during the playing of the national anthem.
Loomis will be a part of the celebration and 20 officers will also take part.
“Once again Cleveland has risen above the fray and has demonstrated that respectful communication is the key to solving any problem,” Loomis said. “We can always accomplish much more good by standing, communicating and working together than we ever will by standing apart.”
Some will argue that the Browns players missed the point of the national anthem protests started by Colin Kaepernick and played into the narrative created by those who would rather not deal with the issues behind it. It remains to be seen if other NFL teams follow suit or if they continue to demonstrate in order to highlight the problems at hand.