Legendary Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown said he would always choose to stand for the National Anthem and would prefer it if today’s NFL players would do the same.
Speaking prior to the HBO premiere of “Hard Knocks,” a behind the scenes series which follows one NFL team through training camp, Brown had some thoughts about the anthem policy that continues to plague the league as we head into another season.
“I’ll never kneel and I will always respect the flag,” Brown declared, echoing statements from Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Dak Prescott.
This isn’t just a fellow football player talking now, it’s Jim freaking Brown, a man who has dedicated much of his post-NFL career fighting for social justice and change.
“I am not going to denigrate my flag and I’m going to stand for the national anthem,” Brown continued. “I’m fighting with all of my strength to make it a better country, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Because what is the top side? Are you not going to stand up? This is our country, man.”
Jim Brown has fought for many social justice causes but says he would “never” kneel during the national anthem https://t.co/SHPwT0A3E4
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) August 8, 2018
Still, the former Cleveland Brown acknowledged that his personal preference aside, he still respected the players right to protest.
“Well, if you take the bottom line, what are we talking about? We’re talking about freedom to express one’s self, and if you don’t break any rules then you have that particular right,” he said.
Even that aspect is still hard to define, as the NFL has waffled on a policy to nix the National Anthem protests which caused their ratings to decline last year.
In May, they instituted a new policy that essentially said if you’re on the field when the anthem is playing, you better stand.
Shortly thereafter, the NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit saying standing for the anthem and respecting the flag “infringes” on their rights.
The league folded almost immediately, announcing they’d suspend the new policy while negotiating with the NFLPA.
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) August 8, 2018
Brown’s comments on the National Anthem policy have remained consistent.
“I’m going to give you the real deal: I’m an American,” Brown said in a brief interview last year. “I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem.”
— ThePostGame (@ThePostGame) August 24, 2017
Brown also pointed out that the league and team owners have a right to expect adherence to their rules and regulations.
“You have to understand there’s intelligence that’s involved, OK?” he said in addressing the lead instigator of these protests, Colin Kaepernick. “I can’t be two things at once that contradict each other. If I sign for money, then the people I sign with, they have rules and regulations.”
Prescott made similar comments quite recently, and was hammered from social justice warriors and even a New York Daily News columnist who called him a “lemonade serving house negro.”
Let’s see them try to do the same to a civil rights advocate the caliber of Jim Brown.