Cleveland Police Weigh In on Pouty Athletes Who Take a Knee

We'd like our NFL players to excel on the field, respect our flag — and leave the politics behind

The president of the police union in Cleveland, Ohio, has spoken out against an incident in which several professional football players on the Cleveland Browns knelt down during the national anthem — a controversial move started by Colin Kaepernick last year to protest police brutality.

Since then, debates have continued within the United States over whether or not it’s acceptable to bring politics to NFL games.

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While Kaepernick remains unemployed, other team members decided to thrust themselves into the spotlight. A group of players from the Cleveland Browns recently took a knee during the national anthem, including the first white player in the NFL to participate in this type of protest. The action drew condemnation from many across the United States, who had hoped the upcoming NFL season would break from the political upheaval and stick to entertainment.

One Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Ohio went viral on social media after an announcement that they would no longer be showing Cleveland Browns games following the incident; they said they would refuse to support anyone who “disgraces the flag or the anthem that we have fought for.”

The Cleveland Browns then released a statement saying that while they respect the flag and the national anthem, they also stand behind their players and their right to freedom of expression.

The VFW in Ohio will not support anyone who “disgraces the flag or the anthem.”

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Of course, organizations such as the VFW would have a huge problem with this type of protest. When these players kneel during the national anthem, it can be a huge slap in the face to many veterans. There are different generations of Americans who watch the NFL, and it’s understandable why they would boycott the Cleveland Browns when the team sanctions the behavior of its players. Now law enforcement officials are making it clear where they stand.

Detective Steve Loomis, president of the police union in Cleveland, issued a statement via his personal Facebook page. He said that withdrawing the support for the Browns games wasn’t to protest players and their individual rights to freedom of speech. It has more to do with the fact that many police feel personally attacked by actions that are rooted in protesting against police officers.

While the discussion of police brutality continues in America, it’s important to remember that the NFL is actually a place of employment. It’s an American pastime that has history in breaking ground for civil rights. The NFL has united Americans nationwide and provided entertainment across the board regardless of skin color, nationality, orientation, and political belief.

Related: Why Police Wonder: ‘Will I Make It Through This Shift?’

There are supporters of law enforcement, and those who do not trust law enforcement tuned into the game.

People pay their hard-earned money to show up to watch a bunch of millionaires play a game that brings them joy. These wealthy players need to stop their shenanigans and get back to the game. At the end of the day, no one cares what an overpaid athlete thinks about the very police officers who ensure their own safety during appearances and football games. Perhaps these players don’t realize the amount of hard work that goes into keeping their crybaby selves safe.

Related: Teaching Kids to Respect Police

The Cleveland Police Union clearly has no time for it.

Angelina Newsom is a U.S. Army veteran and an OpsLens contributor. She served 10 years in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies criminal justice and is still active within the military community. This OpsLens article is used by permission.

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(photo credit, homepage image: Crash Underride; photo credit, article image: Cpl. Reagan Lodge)

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