Before the kickoff of Thursday Night Football last night, both the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals stood together at midfield in a moment of unity. During the national anthem of the NFL game, players and coaches from both teams stood side-by-side inside FirstEnergy Stadium, many with their arms linked.
The teams seemed to exhibit a similar show of unity that was held by the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans during the NFL season opener last week. However, the Chiefs-Texans moment of unity took place right after the national anthem – not during – of last week’s Thursday Night Football matchup. The display was intended to bring awareness to racial injustice and police brutality. Yet, some fans attending the game at Arrowhead Stadium still booed the moment of unity.
The Browns (1-1) went on to beat the Bengals (0-2) for their first win of the season 35-30.
The Ongoing NFL Protests For Social Justice
Cameras did not seem to capture anyone kneeling during the demonstration on Thursday night. In contrast, three Cleveland Browns players kneeled during the pregame anthem prior to their Week 1 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. The players included defensive end Myles Garrett, wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge, and safety Ronnie Harrison.
Garrett spoke about his decision to kneel after the game. The player made sure to say that it was never his intention to offend any military personnel or police officers.
“Just a message,” Garrett said. “No disrespect to anybody who’s served or anybody who’s in law enforcement or is serving right now. Anybody who’s served that I know, I don’t think they take it as a disrespectful thing. It’s not that. If we continue to switch it up, we’ll worry about that next week. But my decision to do that has been no bearing on my game or it doesn’t bear on my conscious either. After that, I’m in game mode.”
Kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest continues to be a trending NFL topic. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the movement in 2016 to bring awareness to racial injustices and police brutality.
Kaepernick has been a free agent ever since the finish of the 2016 season. However, he is still a vocal supporter and face of the ongoing NFL demonstrations. Additionally, Nike released a special limited edition CK7 jersey on its website early Thursday morning that sold out within seconds.