If you are outraged by Cleveland Browns Baker Mayfield’s intentions to kneel for the national anthem, he’s okay with that.
After Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was asked on Instagram to “Please tell Browns fans you’re not going to be kneeling this season.” Mayfield responded, “Pull your head out. I absolutely am.”
He also appeared in a tee-shirt with the Black Lives Matter logi=o (“I can’t breathe).
Twitter reaction was loud and not entirely supportive. Fans are absolutely permitted to not like the Cleveland Browns or Baker Mayfield. However, by this time it needs to be observed that Mayfield is supported by his coach Kevin Stefanski, his general manager Andrew Berry, owners Dee, and Jimmy Haslam, and Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The issue has changed. It’s no longer about what is the best way to accomplish social change without offending certain groups. Now it is about supporting teammates who are hurting, and feel this is the best way to address their pain.
Almost no one among NFL players is seeking to insult the military (and in the interest of full disclosure, this article is written by an Air Force veteran). It’s a statement that Baker Mayfield will support his African American teammates and is personally opposed to institutionalized racism.
Writing on Cleveland.com, Mary K. Cabot reports that:
"“Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his players on the issue of social justice, and if they decide to kneel for the national anthem, he’ll kneel beside them.”"
No doubt this position is fully vetted with Browns general Manager Andrew Berry as well.
In 2017, Dee and Jimmy Haslam backed the player’s right to protest via a statement on the team’s website. While supporting the players’ right to assemble and to demonstrate peacefully, they also sought to reframe the discussion in order to set goals that would better address the players’ agenda,
"“We view our organization, our league and our players as great unifiers of people. Our players, just like so many others across our league, have been honest and thoughtful with their attempt to bring awareness to the issues of inequality and social injustice. We were incredibly moved by the meaningful and powerful dialogue they initiated within our organization when they spoke of their intent to unify and not be disrespectful while using familiar and important terms like one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Their intent is to create positive and unifying change and that was demonstrated well by the unity they led prior to our home opener. They have continued to prove this dedication to unite diverse members of our community throughout this past month by establishing direct conversation with the Cleveland Police Department and creating a plan to work together in our neighborhoods. We are also proud of their many other significant efforts in our city throughout the year that are done quietly to improve the lives of others.” — Dee and Jimmy Haslam, Sept 24, 2017."
The NFL, via Commissioner Roger Goodell has reversed its stance and now supports the players’ right to kneel for the National Anthem.
So, readers are entitled to hate Baker Mayfield and never watch another Browns game as long as they live, if they so choose.
Go for it, that is your right.
However, Mayfield’s stance is totally within the policy supported by his coach, his general manager, his team’s owners, and the Commissioner of the NFL. It’s not just about Baker Mayfield, and he is pretty much okay with it if fans want to blast on Twitter.
He’s comfortable with his decision and is okay with the negative reactions of some fans.