NFL stars have hit back against fans criticizing them for taking a knee in solidarity with George Floyd protesters during the national anthem.
Big names like Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and former Defensive Player of the Year, JJ Watt, have been voicing their plans to take a knee in the coming season.
The BLM protest of taking a knee was made famous by NFL players like San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who were slammed by Trump and other right-wing conservatives for “disrespecting the flag” in 2016.
Houston Texans defender Watt was quick to point out that kneeling in protest at police brutality and the lack of accountability for officers who commit murder has nothing to do with disrespect to the flag, the military or a lack of patriotism.
The 31-year-old responded to a troll’s attack against his plans, tweeting “A) don’t speak for me
“B) if you still think it’s about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven’t been listening”
His response to the now-deleted tweet has been praised by many claiming to be marines and other military members.
Cleaveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield put a similar idiot in their place on his Instagram on Saturday.
Answering a post that pleaded with him not to kneel, Mayfield responded: “Pull your head out. I absolutely am.″
Pull your head out
Mayfield has been outspoken about the need for more understanding and justice in the nation George Floyd’s murder.
He said on Thursday: “It’s a pivotal time for change.
“What’s being addressed now obviously has been going on for a long time.
“Now everybody’s finally coming together to address it, and doing it the right way of holding people accountable.”
Mayfield wore an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt while working out. Later, he posted another message outlining his stance on kneeling.
“Everybody so upset about my comment doesn’t understand the reason behind kneeling in the first place,” Mayfield wrote.
“I have the utmost respect for our military, cops, and people that serve OUR country.
“It’s about equality and everybody being treated the same because we are all human.
“It’s been ignored for too long and that it my fault as well for not becoming more educated and staying silent.”
“If I lose fans, that’s OK. I’ve always spoken my mind. And that’s from the heart.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson also put out a post on twitter two weeks ago calling for change, talking about how he fears for his children’s futures and reflecting on the stories of racial violence told by his father and grandfather.
Owners and even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have had a broad change of heart over the issue which they were previously against.
Many have released statements on the recent protests around the country and the Black Lives Matter movement.
On Friday, Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he would kneel with his players if they chose to do so during the anthem, according to the NY Post.
New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski has also made it clear he would back his players in any peaceful demonstrations after attending a peaceful protest last weekend and has encouraged his players to “get in the arena.”
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Stefanski said: “My position is I want to make sure I support our players,”
“First things first, I want to make sure I sit down with them and talk.
“I can just promise you this, we will spend as much time as needed to make sure that we are all on the same page and we are a united front from a player, staff, you name it.”
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