Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield commented a few weeks ago about how he is “moving in silence” as he prepares for the 2020 season.
But Mayfield was anything but silent on Saturday when he let everyone know he plans to kneel during the national anthem when the Browns return to the field this fall.
In response to a fan’s plea on Instagram to “Please tell Browns fans you’re not going to be kneeling this season,” Mayfield said “pull your head out. I absolutely am.” (h/t to @Pchopz_ for being the first to pick up on this.)
Baker says he will be taking a knee this season. pic.twitter.com/ph4TeJEELQ— Football Chopz (@Pchopz_) June 13, 2020
Mayfield expanded on his feelings in a subsequent post by saying that anyone who is upset with his decision does not understand why players kneel in the first place:
More from Baker pic.twitter.com/FNk1bBrWeu— Football Chopz (@Pchopz_) June 13, 2020
Mayfield is just the latest Browns player to speak out on the subject of social justice and racism as wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. were part of a recent video where NFL players spoke out about Black Lives Matter.
On Thursday, head coach Kevin Stefanski encouraged his players to be active in peaceful protests and working with charities that support the movement, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“My big message to our guys has been to get in the arena. We are all about action, and I think we have some amazing people — both on the team and in this building — that have really provided some great resources to our players so they can become part of the action. We want to be a strong part of this community. We want to be a strong part of positive change, and I realize from my platform that I am able to affect change.
“We have to do better, and most of us believe that there has to be reforms of some sort. I thought this was something that is important for our support moving forward. We are trying so hard to give our players resources to get in the arena and act, because dialogue is great. Listening is outstanding. That is part of the healing process. But now is the time to make sure we are making positive change in our communities.”
Stefanski backed up his words with action as he joined his players in signing a letter to the U.S. Congress supporting a bill that would end qualified immunity, which makes it difficult to sue police officers for brutality. He also recently marched in a peaceful protest with family members in the Cleveland suburb of Avon.