CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has changed plans and will stand for the national anthem.
Mayfield had said during the offseason he intended to kneel in protest of racial injustice, but Saturday announced on Twitter that he intends to stand for both the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which will be played before every NFL game this season.
The Browns open the season Sunday in Baltimore.
“After watching Thursday’s game and also watching the Dolphins player’s video.. it shows that it is not about who is standing or who is kneeling for the anthem,” Mayfield wrote. “But instead, coming together and taking action to create real change. Also after reading many letters and messages over the past few weeks… I have been showed that a gesture such as kneeling will only create more division or discussion about the gesture, rather than be a solution towards our country’s problems at hand.
“With that being said, I am choosing to stand for both anthems to show respect, love, and unity to everybody involved.”
Mayfield, who is a member of the Browns’ 11-player social justice committee, said he’ll respect whatever decisions his teammates make as far as protesting during the anthems.
“My heart is even more passionate than it was months ago, due to the fact that we are not close to being where our country needs to be. I love this country, but these challenges and adversity are an opportunity for much needed change for issues that have been going on for far too long. It is going to come down to how we handle adversity and taking advantage of our opportunities.
“I am posting this now so it is not a discussion on game day. And so the discussion can continue to be about how to better our country, instead of divide us. Our team is ready to fight for our goals both on and off the field.”
On Friday, Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett wouldn’t reveal what Cleveland’s players intend to do before Sunday’s game.
“Not going to give anybody any time to dissect it and try to make it more than it is or divisive,” he said. “What we choose to do, it will have a point. There will be a message behind it. We will use it to unify us, the NFL and the people who choose to watch.”