On Monday (August 21), 12 Cleveland Browns players took a knee during the National Anthem in solidarity with the silent protest Colin Kaepernick started last preseason. Now, a year later, Seth DeValve has become the first white NFL player to participate in the protest to bring awareness to unarmed black people being killed by police officers.
DeValve, a tight end for the Cleveland Browns, was one of the 12 players to take a knee during the Browns' preseason game against the New York Giants. Following the Browns' win against the Giants, DeValve explained why he chose to protest with his fellow teammates, crediting his biracial children as his inspiration.
"The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to its citizen that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn't provide equal opportunity to everybody and I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee," DeValve said. "We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are things in this country that still need to change. I, myself, will be raising children that don't look like me and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now."
The National Anthem protests continue to spark debate as football fans are torn between those who believe kneeling is disrespectful to the country, and those who believe the country has been disrespectful to black lives. Monday night's protest has been the largest National Anthem protest by a single team thus far.
Last week, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett suggested that the protests could be more effective if white players got involved. "It would take a white player to really get things changed, because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it... it would change the whole conversation," he said.
Responding to Bennett's call to action, Philadelphia Eagles DE Chris Long showed support for Malcolm Jenkins by putting his hand on Jenkins' shoulder as he kneeled during the anthem. Seahawks' Justin Britt did the same for Bennett.
Following the Browns' win against the Giants, DeValve explained why he chose to protest with his fellow teammates, crediting his biracial children as his inspiration.