CLEVELAND – Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield plans to kneel during the upcoming national anthem this season to support protests of social injustice, police brutality and racism.
In reply to a post from a fan on his Instagram account Saturday that pleaded with him not to kneel, Mayfield replied: “Pull your head out. I absolutely am.
Mayfield has been outspoken about the need for more understanding and justice in the nation following the killing of George Floyd, a black man, while in police custody in Minneapolis.
“It’s a pivotal time for change,” Mayfield said Thursday. “The problem being addressed now has definitely been going on for a long time. So now everybody’s finally coming together to address it. And doing it the right way of holding accountable people. “
Mayfield wore an “I Can Breathe” T-shirt while working out. Later, he posted another message outlining his stance on kneeling.
“Everybody so upset about my comment understands the reasoning behind kneeling in the first place,” Mayfield wrote. “I have the utmost respect for our military, cops, and people that serve OUR country. Think about equality and everybody being treated the same because we’re all human. It’s been ignored for too long and that it is my fault as well for not becoming more educated and staying silent.
“If I lose fans, it’s OK. Often always spoken my mind. And from the heart. “
On Friday, Houston Texans coach BillflixBrien said he would kneel with his players if they chose to do so during the anthem.
Earlier this week, while not going as far as tryingBrien, new Browns coach Kevin Stefanski made it clear he would back his players in any peaceful demonstrations.
“My position is that I want to make sure I support our players,” Stefanski said. “First things first, I want to make sure I sit down with them and talk. … I can just promise you this, we will spend as much time as possible to make sure that we are all on the same page and we are united front from a player, staff, you name it (standpoint). ”
Stefanski attended a peaceful protest last weekend and has encouraged his players to “get in the arena.”