Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam will support Baker Mayfield and any other player who will kneel during the national anthem this season. Earlier this year, Mayfield made it clear he will kneel in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The 25-year-old quarterback doubled down on that right before the team's first practice of training camp last week, and when talking to reporters on Sunday, the Haslams said they will back Mayfield and the players.
"One of the great things about this country, one of the many great things, is the ability to have freedom of speech and being able to express yourself," Jimmy Haslam said on the call with his wife. "So we are going to support our players." Jimmy went on to say that the country is focused way too much on who kneels and who doesn't. He wants to know what are people doing to help the community during the week. "Dee and I can issue some great statement, but what you all really ought to look at is what ourselves, our coaches, our players are doing the rest of the week, if you will, to make this country a better place to live, work and raise a family," Jimmy said.
Back in June, Mayfield went to Instagram and said he will "absolutely" kneel during the national anthem this year. He then went to his Instagram story to explain the purpose of taking a knee. "Everybody so upset about my comment doesn't understand the reason behind kneeling in the first place," Mayfield wrote. "I have the utmost respect for our military, cops, and people that serve OUR country. It's about equality and everybody being treated the same because we are all human. It's been ignored for too long and that it's my fault as well for not becoming more educated and staying silent."
It's likely Mayfield won't be the only Browns or NFL player that will kneel this season. Earlier this year Washington Football Team quarterback Adrian Peterson said a number of players will protest this fall. And while the NFL has not been fully supportive of kneeling in the past, league commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the NFL didn't handle things the right way when it comes to the protests.