Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown reiterated Tuesday that he would never kneel during the national anthem.
In an interview before the premiere of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” Brown told The Associated Press that he respects players’ right to protest during the national anthem, as dozens did last season, but the 82-year-old said he personally “will always respect the flag.”
“I am not going to denigrate my flag and I’m going to stand for the national anthem,” Brown said, according to The Associated Press. “I’m fighting with all of my strength to make it a better country, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Because what is the top side? Are you not going to stand up? This is our country, man.”
Brown, who has long been an advocate for civil rights and now works as a special advisor for the Cleveland Browns, made similar comments last year, saying that he was supportive of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s fight for social justice but disagreed with his method.
Protesting during the national anthem remains a significant issue for the NFL ahead of the 2018 season, with the league and the NFL Players’ Association currently working toward an amenable resolution. The NFL previously adopted a rule change this spring that would have allowed players to remain in the locker room during the anthem but punished teams if their players were on the field and kneeling.
Kaepernick and others have described the demonstrations as a means of peacefully protesting racial inequality and police brutality.
When asked about how to resolve the national anthem issue Tuesday, Brown asked: “Well, if you take the bottom line, what are we talking about?
“We’re talking about freedom to express one’s self,” he continued, according to the AP, “and if you don’t break any rules, then you have that particular right.”
Source: Tom Schad, USA TODAY
Photo Credit: 6abc Philadelphia
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