Cleveland Browns Coach Would Rather His Players Not Exercise First Amendment Right This Season
The NFL preseason is currently underway, and in addition to executing plays on the field, a few athletes are amplifying their actions off the turf. Colin Kaepernick, Marshawn Lynch and Michael Bennett, to name a few pros, protested the national anthem in order to shine a light on the injustice plaguing the U.S. Now, one of the league's officials has voiced his concern about the gesture.
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson spoke with the Cleveland Plain Dealer and shared his controversial thoughts on the matter.
"I think everybody has a right to [protest], and I get it, but the national anthem means a lot to myself personally, the organization and our football team. I hope — and again I can't speak, I haven't really talked to our team about it — I would hope that we don't have those issues," he said.
Jackson, who became the Browns' coach in 2016, added that if there's an issue a team member or the entire franchise would like to address, he wants it to happen internally.
"I understand there is a lot going on in the world," he began. "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."
During a recent segment of Undisputed, sports commentator Shannon Sharpe summarized mostly everyone's reaction to Jackson's comments.
"There are a lot of black men that were before you that were equally or more so qualified than you that didn't get the opportunity," Sharpe said. "And I know you think you got this job on your own, but you don't understand how many men are working behind the scenes, not only you but other black coaches, even the opportunity to be heard."
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) August 15, 2017