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Baker Mayfield On Plans To Kneel In Protest During The Anthem: ‘It’s About Equality’

The NFL insists it plans on going about business as usual this fall when the season is scheduled to begin, despite a global pandemic and civil unrest over police brutality and systemic racism faced by the Black community. On the latter front, a number of players have spoken up and taken the league to task for how it’s responded in the past to protests and calls to action to address police violence, most notably in Colin Kaepernick continuing to be kept out of the league for his silent and peaceful protests of kneeling prior to games during the national anthem.

Kaepernick always explained what the message was behind his protests, but despite his constant explanations that he was calling for attention to be paid to how Black Americans were treated by police in this country, it became a debate about whether it was somehow disrespectful to the flag or the military. Drew Brees parroted that criticism recently and got roundly called out by teammates, others from around the league, and stars from other sports, and has since recanted and promised to listen and learn, even going so far as to explain to Donald Trump why his initial statement was wrong.

A number of the NFL’s star players called out the NFL for its initial statement and pushed the league to more fervently condemn racism and admit that peaceful protest by players, like Kaepernick’s, should be supported. Roger Goodell quickly issued a video message saying just that — albeit, without mentioning Kaepernick’s name, which should’ve happened — and a number of players have since made their plans to take up Kaepernick’s form of protest next season very clear.

Over the weekend, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield became the latest to do so, responding to an Instagram comment asking, hopefully, that he wouldn’t kneel during the anthem, “Pull your head out. I absolutely am.”

Mayfield’s star teammate Odell Beckham Jr. has likewise made his intentions clear this season, and there is clearly a movement happening at the NFL’s star level in terms of garnering support for those with the biggest platforms to take a stand and join in on protesting police brutality and racism.

To make clear why he would be doing this, Mayfield posted a message to is Instagram story explaining that “it’s about equality” and, again, noted that it has nothing to do with the flag but about conveying the needed message on the platform provided to them to do so, citing conversations had between Kaepernick and his veteran teammate, Nate Boyer.


Baker also took responsibility for into being educated enough on the systemic issues that face Black Americans and not using his platform previously to speak out on the issue. Given how Kaepernick was treated by the NFL, seeing so many star players take up his form of protest this fall will be fascinating, but hopefully those that do will also be willing to speak out about how he’s been pushed out of the league and is deserving of a spot on a roster.