Expect different reaction to NFL protests this season

Players, coaches and owners to come together

Expect different reaction to NFL protests this season

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - NFL teams are slowly shifting back into football mode, but the conversation about racial equality isn't going away. And it shouldn't. It will likely play out in some form on the field in the Fall.

"I think you're gonna see most if not all players in the league taking a knee for racial and social justice," Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports told me during a zoom meeting. "I wouldn't be surprised to see coaches and even owners join in, as they did in 2017."

The difference now, as opposed to when Colin Kaepernick knelt, will be the national reaction. The groundswell is simply too great at this point. Or so it seems.

"I have a unique perspective having been in San Francisco at the time (when Kaepernick, the former 49'ers quarterback, protested during the National Anthem), and also being a black man in America," Browns VP of Football Operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah told me. "And I have hope for where we're going in this country, but I can't sit here and tell you that I have some kind of expertise on how it's gonna go."

Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has posted messages of support. Many players aren't buying it, but McCarthy believes it's legit.

"I think Goodell's response comes from the heart," McCarthy says. "I think the last couple of weeks have changed this country. I think a lot of people have changed their minds and their hearts as to what's going on in this country."

For now, the focus may gradually shift back to offseason workouts and eventually training camp. But come September, there will be a very public unified front, as players, including Drew Brees, likely kneel together.

“I think he does,” McCarthy says. “I wouldn’t be surprised. In fact, I expect Goodell himself to take a knee when the season starts.”

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