When Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said last week that “to really get things changed” would take a white player to kneel while the national anthem is being played, little did he realize it would happen so quickly.
On Monday, Seth DeValve, who is a second-year Browns tight end, knelt as the “Star-Spangled Banner” was played at the evening game in Cleveland against the Giants. There were more than a dozen players who circled nearby and bowed their heads in silent protest. Several more teammates stood, but put their hands on the shoulders of those kneeling.
The movement was started by Colin Kaepernick, and Seth DeValve is the first white player to join the movement. Colin Kaepernick is currently not in the league as he is yet to be hired by a new team.
Chris Long, a player for the Eagles, stood with his hand on a teammate’s shoulder as the player kneeled last week.
DeValve stated he feels the protest is personal to him. He was a fourth-round pick last year who attended Princeton and is protesting the treatment of minorities. He is married to an African-American woman and is hopeful that the children he plans to have one day will grow up in a better world.
DeValve is 24 years old and comes from Manchester, Connecticut. He is quoted as saying, “It saddens me that in 2017, we have to do something like that. I love this country and support its troops. The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. This issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody. I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there’s [sic] things in this country that still need to change. I myself will be raising children that don’t look like me. I want to do my part as well – do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now. I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country and also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do. That’s why I do what I did.”
DeValve is married to Erica Harris, having proposed to her last year on the football field at the university.
Seth DeValve was joined in his protest by linebackers Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey; running backs Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, Terrance Magee, and Brandon Wilds; safety Gabriel Peppers; wide receivers Kenny Britt and Ricardo Louis; and defensive back Calvin Pryor, who is a former Jet.
Support was offered by putting their hands on kneelers’ shoulders by rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, offensive tackle Shon Coleman, punter Britton Colquitt, defensive back Jason McCourty and offensive lineman Marcus Martin.
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