Following a week of debate and controversy after several Browns players chose to kneel during the national anthem, every member of the team was up and standing when the anthem was played prior to Saturday night's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Browns play-by-play man and WKYC sportscaster Jim Donovan made reference to the players' decision to stand during the team's radio broadcast after the Star Spangled Banner was sung. His partner and former Browns offensive lineman Doug Dieken then gave credit to team legend Jim Brown, who met with the team before the game.
According to Dieken, Brown told the team, "Do not disrespect your flag, do not disrespect your country." The Hall of Fame running back made headlines earlier this week when he criticized players for protesting during the anthem.
A number of Browns players knelt in prayer during the anthem prior to Monday night's game against the New York Giants in Cleveland. Tight end Seth DeValve, the first white player in the NFL to kneel, said he "wanted to take that opportunity with my teammates to pray for our country and also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do."
“I just want to start by saying it saddens me that in 2017 we have to do something like that. I personally would like to say that I love this country, I love our national anthem, I am very grateful for the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this country and to service this country," DeValve, whose wife is black, said at the time. "I want to honor them as much as I can. The United States is the greatest country in the world, and it is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does."
The display provoked several positive and negative reactions, including from many Browns fans, with some even saying they would not watch the team's games if they continued to kneel.