Mayfield reverses course, to stand for anthem

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield tweeted Saturday that he is reversing course and will stand for the national anthem.

“After reading many letters and messages… 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 problem at hand,” Mayfield wrote Saturday.

He said he will also stand for “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which will be played before every NFL game this season.

Mayfield also said that after watching Thursday’s show of unity prior to the Texans-Chiefs game and watching the video released by Miami Dolphins players, it is “not about who is standing or who is kneeling” but instead about “coming together and taking action to create real change.”

On June 13, in answering a post from a fan on his Instagram account, Mayfield responded that he would “absolutely” kneel during the anthem. On Aug. 14, Mayfield reiterated his stance and said he had no regrets about his decision.

“I think being in my position, which is a blessing, being out on a platform to where I can speak on issues that are just wrong. Right is right, and wrong is wrong,” Mayfield said then. “There’s a human rights issue that has been going on for a long time, and I believe in that. It’s nothing against military or anybody who served. Anybody that knows my history knows that I completely support military and the people that serve our country for the right reasons and do it for justice. The people that do not know that, that’s OK — just take your time and take a second to get to know me. It’s a human rights issue. There is right and there is wrong.”

The Browns open in Baltimore against the Ravens on Sunday. Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski declined Friday to say what his team’s plan would be for the pregame regarding any social justice message.

“We have talked internally,” Stefanski said. “Feel really good about it, but we will keep those discussions internal.”

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,” Mayfield wrote Saturday. “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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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