Browns silent protest, first white NFL player takes a knee to stand with Colin Kapernick

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A group of Cleveland Browns players protested during the national anthem prior to Monday night's preseason game against the Giants.

The protest included nearly a dozen players, among them Duke Johnson, Kenny Britt, Jamie Collins, JaBrill Peppers, Ricardo Louis and Seth DeValve.

DeValve, a Browns tight end, is now the first white NFL player to kneel during the anthem.

"I wanted today to support my African-American teammates. It's been a year now since this type of protest has gone on and I think people are slowly realizing now more why it's being done and we want to make our country a better place," DeValve said after the game.

Additional players, including DeShone Kizer and Britton Colquitt, placed their hands on their teammates' shoulders in what appeared to be an act of solidarity.

In response, Browns spokesman Dan Murphy issued the following statement:

"As an organization, we have a profound respect for our country's National Anthem, flag and the servicemen and servicewomen in the United States and abroad. 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."

Browns players aren't the only ones this year to join the cause: Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett stayed seated during the playing of the anthem to protest the deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, and Marshawn Lynch also recently took a knee.

Colin Kaepernick, who initiated the protest last year to draw attention toward police-related shootings and social issues, has been unable to find a quarterback job since opting out of his contract with San Francisco in the off-season.

Sports analysts have speculated NFL teams have avoided signing Kaepernick to dodge potential controversy, but it appears the protests aren't going away especially as more players join the initiative.

Monday night's show of solidarity was the largest anthem protest by a single team so far.

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