Members of unions representing Cleveland police officers and paramedics have said they won’t hold a large U.S. flag during pregame ceremonies prior to next Sunday’s Cleveland Browns season opener after a group of Browns players knelt during the national anthem before a preseason game last month.
Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, cited his service in the U.S. Navy when he told WKYC-TV he was astounded that Browns management knew of the protests but allowed it to occur.
“I am not going to participate or work with management that allows their players to disrespect the flag and the national anthem,” Loomis said.
Nearly a dozen Browns players knelt in a circle and prayed in silent protest during the anthem before a preseason home game Aug. 21 against the New York Giants. A smaller group of players placed hands on the shoulders of their kneeling teammates.
A team spokesman issued a statement at halftime that said the organization has a “profound respect” for the national anthem, the U.S. flag and those who serve in the military.