Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has announced that he no longer intends to participate in the National Anthem protest ahead of his game this Sunday.
As CBS Sports reports, the announcement comes on the day before the Browns play their season opener vs. the Baltimore Ravens and months after Mayfield initially said he would not stand for the flag or the National Anthem.
In a statement, Mayfield said he made his decision after watching how teams behaved ahead of the game on Thursday between the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans.
Several players from both teams locked arms in the middle of the field—while several fans booed the demonstration—while some others stayed in the locker room.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 12, 2020
Mayfield also said his decision was influenced by a video from several Miami Dolphins players, who underscored the importance of actual change—not just the physical demonstrations.
“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. But instead, coming together and taking action to create real change. Also after reading many letters and personal messages over the past few weeks, I have been shown a gesture such as kneeling will only create more division and discussion about the gesture, rather than a solution toward our country’s problems at hand,” Mayfield said, per the report. “With that being said, I am choosing to stand for both anthems to show respect, love, unity, to everyone involved.
“I will respect my teammates no matter their decision. We have had meaningful discussions on what true change looks like and that change takes all of us being together. My heart is even more passionate than it was months ago, due to the fact we are not close being to where our country needs to be. 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’s going to come down how we handle adversity and taking advantage of our opportunities,” he continued.
The quarterback added: “I am posting this now so it’s not a discussion on game day. And so the discussion can be how to better our country, instead of divide us. Our team is ready to fight for our goals both on and off the field.”
"I am choosing to stand for both anthems to show respect, love, and unity to everybody involved."
Browns QB Baker Mayfield to stand during both anthems after previously planning to kneel.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 12, 2020
The Miami Dolphins video that Mayfield referenced is below:
BREAKING NEWS: The@MiamiDolphins players will stay inside for both national anthems. They express their discontentment with what they call “fluff and empty gestures” by the @NFL pic.twitter.com/ghUktHhPt9
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) September 10, 2020