Browns owner backs Baker Mayfield's plan to protest during NFL season

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Writer
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is one of the most prominent players in the NFL to signal he will protest racial injustice during the national anthem this season. He will reportedly do so with the full backing of his team’s owner.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam told the Associated Press on Sunday that he will support Mayfield and any other Browns player who takes a knee:

“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 a Zoom call with his wife. “So we are going to support our players.”

Mayfield doubled down on his plans to protest earlier this week, repeating what he pledged in June in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests. He called racial inequality in America a human rights issue, and said protests against it have nothing to do with the military:

“It’s wrong. Right is right and wrong is wrong,” Mayfield said. “It’s a human rights issue. It’s been going on for a long time and I believe in that. It’s nothing against the military, anyone who served. Anybody that knows my history knows I completely support the military and people that serve our country for the right reasons and do it for justice.

“The people that don’t know that, that’s OK. Take your time. Take a second to get to know me. It’s a human rights issue.”

The topic of protesting during the national anthem has come back in full force across sports, from the NBA to MLB to the NWSL to overseas. The return of those kneeling protests to the league where they originated was inevitable and inevitably controversial in some corners. Mayfield will likely be joined by scores of players in taking a knee.

Haslam characterized the blowback against such protests — which often ignore that the kneeling originated from a discussion between Colin Kaepernick and a Green Beret — as a distraction from the substance against the protests, which is racial injustice.

From the AP:

“There is just all of this condemnation from one side versus the other, rather than everybody trying to understand, ‘Well, why is that important to you, Baker? You are a thoughtful young man. You understand the ramifications,’” he said. “So we are going to be fully supportive of our players no matter what they decide to do. We just ask that, as a country, we have a lot more thoughtful dialogue.”

The Browns remain scheduled to open their season on Sept. 13 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Baker Mayfield looks for an open receiver with the football in his throwing hand.
Baker Mayfield will likely be one of many NFL players to protest during the season. Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

More from Yahoo Sports:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.