Seth DeValve explains decision to join Browns’ anthem protest
Cleveland Browns tight end Seth DeValve became the first known white player to take part in a national anthem protest ahead of Monday’s preseason game against the New York Giants.
DeValve said the outbreak of violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12 that left one counterprotester dead and 19 injured at a white nationalist rally inspired his decision to participate in Monday’s protest, which involved 12 Browns players kneeling while a handful of other players stood nearby in a show of solidarity.
But there was another more personal reason that compelled him to take part: His wife, Erica, is African-American.
“I myself will be raising children that don’t look like me, and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now,” DeValve said, via ESPN. “So 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.”
There has been much discussion on if a white player would ever participate in an anthem protest. Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett recently suggested it “would take a white player to really get things changed” when it comes to changing the perception of anthem protests.
Either way, DeValve, 24, wishes the protests weren’t necessary in the first place.
“It saddens me that in 2017 we have to do something like that,” DeValve said. “I personally would like to say that I love this country. I love our national anthem. I’m very grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this courtly and serve this country. I want to honor them as much as I can.
“The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to citizens that no other country does. The 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.”