National Anthem protests among NFL players appear to be spreading, with one key barrier falling Monday when Seth DeValve, a second-year tight end for the Cleveland Browns, took a knee during “The Star Spangled Banner” before a preseason game in Cleveland against the Giants.
The New York Post reports that DeValve was “part of a circle of more than a dozen players who bowed their heads in silent protest. They were flanked by several more teammates who stood and put their hands on the kneelers’ shoulders.”
The report adds: “DeValve is the first white player to join the movement started by Colin Kaepernick, who’s currently not in the league. The Eagles’ Chris Long stood with his hand on a teammate’s kneeling shoulder last week.”
The report notes that Michael Bennett, a defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, said last week that it would take the involvement of a white player in the protests “to really get things changed.” The protests are focused on the treatment of African Americans by police across the U.S.
“For DeValve, a fourth-round pick last year out of Princeton, protesting treatment of minorities is personal: He’s married to an African-American woman, and he expressed hope that his future children would grow up in a better world,” The Post notes.
DeValve, 24, is quoted in the report saying: “The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody.” He added: “I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there’s things in this country that still need to change.”