First White NFL Player to Take Knee During the National Anthem Explains Reason He Did It

| AUG 22, 2017 | 4:08 PM

Screenshot/The Wrap

On Monday's preseason game against the New York Giants, 11 Cleveland Browns made quite a statement on the field.

During the national anthem, the group of players all took a knee in a circle together:

Browns tight end Seth DeValve became the first white NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem.

Amid speculation that the Browns were just following Kaepernick's lead, DeValve claims otherwise. In fact, he told ESPN that he was praying during the anthem.

The tight end explained that he loves his country and the appreciates the people who defend it.

Then DeValve said, according to Bleacher Report:

"We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's things in this country that still need to change. And I myself will be raising children that don't look like me.

And I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now."

DeValve is married to a African-American woman:

Night out with the wife in the Bahamas! 🇧🇸

A post shared by Seth DeValve (@sethdevalve) on

The pregame protest hasn't been met without controversy, though, with some calling for boycotting the NFL this season:

Before the protest happened, Browns coach Hue Jackson was asked how he felt about the demonstrations during the anthem.

He said, according to ESPN:

“I understand there is a lot going on in the world,” Jackson said. “I like to just keep it here. What we deal with, we try to deal with as a team in our closed environment. We talk about things. Hopefully, that won’t happen.

“I can’t tell you it won’t happen, but I just know our guys, and I don’t think that is where our focus is. We hope the things that are going on in the world get ironed out, but I know right now, we are doing everything we can to get our football team better.”

With the largest protest yet from the Browns, Jackson has changed his view on the issue. His opinion now: “We’ve always made it clear to our players that they should embrace the platform they have as NFL players to improve our community and use their platform in a positive, thoughtful and responsible manner.”