By Malcom Lemmons, Special to the AFRO
On Aug. 7, former NFL running-back and Hall of Famer Jim Brown stated in an interview on that he would never kneel for the national anthem. This interview took place at an event prior to the premiere of the new season of HBO’s ”Hard Knocks.”
Brown went on to say, “I am not going to denigrate my flag and I’m going to stand for the national anthem,” and continued with “I’m fighting with all of my strength to make it a better country, but I don’t think that’s the issue.”
Brown said he also believes that players have the right to express themselves, but that he doesn’t agree with doing it during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” further quoting “I’ll never kneel and I will always respect the flag,” according to USA Today.
Brown, who was a major civil rights advocate during and after his football career, supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election and also sides with President Trump’s stance on this issue. Trump has repeatedly called out various athletes and requested for the league to punish players who protest, suggesting that players who kneel shouldn’t be in the country.
The number of players who took part in the protests grew during the 2017 season, particularly after Trump proposed that those who demonstrated during the anthem should be fired from their respective teams.
Brown’s statements come just months after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced a policy requiring any players on the field during the national anthem to stand and allowing the league to fine any teams with players that don’t. The policy allows players to stay in the locker room if they wish not to stand.
In light of the NFL’s recent policy on kneeling, the NFL Players Association has filed a non-injury grievance challenging the policy.