Even though the recent NFL player kneel downs are aimed to bring awareness to social injustice, the silent protests are still very polarizing. The Cleveland police and paramedics union will not hold up the United States flag at the upcoming Cleveland Browns home opener.
On August 21 nearly a dozen Browns players knelt down in a circle and prayed during the singing of the national anthem at preseason game. Apparently, this was to the dismay of the local police force and EMS teams. The local union president has recently announced that his staff will not raise the flag this weekend when the Browns face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I am not going to participate or work with management that allows their players to disrespect the flag and the national anthem” said Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association. Dan Nemeth, president of the Cleveland Association of Rescue Employees Local 1975 shared a similar sentiment. “When I was growing up, we were taught to stand every morning, put our hands over our hearts and say the Pledge of Allegiance. And when we did that, we typically had someone holding the flag in front of the class. For them to disrespect the flag by taking a knee did not sit well with me.”
The Browns organization made a statement regarding the kneel down saying “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.” Nevertheless both organizations find the explanation to be “hypocritical”.
Originally started by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 as a peaceful demonstration against police brutality, the kneel down has gained popularity among players but continues to gain heavy scrutiny from the armed forces and media outlets.
Kaepernick remains unemployed even though he led his former team the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl.
Via The Grio