Mayfield changes mind, will stand for anthem
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said Saturday that he remains committed to the cause of social justice but will stand for the national anthem after initially saying he would kneel.
He said his change of heart was inspired by recent actions of his NFL counterparts and by not wanting to be a distraction from the issue.
“After watching Thursday’s game and also watching the Dolphins players’ video, it shows that it is not about who is standing or who is kneeling for the anthem,” Mayfield, 25, wrote in a statement he posted to social media. “But instead, coming together and taking action to create real change.”
Still, Mayfield, who is entering his third season as the Browns’ offensive leader, said he supports whatever choice Cleveland players make.
“I will respect my teammates no matter their decision,” Mayfield wrote. “We have had meaningful discussions on what true change looks like, and that change takes all of us being together.”
In the NFL season opener on Thursday, the Kansas City Chiefs stood for the anthem while the Houston Texans remained in the locker room. Once both teams were on the field, the teams stood together and joined arms as social justice messages played on the scoreboard. Miami players have said they won’t participate in the anthem ceremony.
After the passing of George Floyd — a Black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer put a knee to his neck — in May, Mayfield vowed to kneel for the anthem. Now, he said, that gesture isn’t a way to create change, rather sowing division.
“My heart is even more passionate than it was months ago, due to the fact that we are not close to being where our country needs to be,” Mayfield wrote Saturday. “I love this country, but these challenges and adversity are an opportunity for much needed change for issues that have been going on for far too long. It is going to come down to how we handle adversity and taking advantage of our opportunities.”
The Browns open the season Sunday in Baltimore against the Ravens.
–Field Level Media