Baker Mayfield planned to make a stand. Instead, he’ll stand.
After watching the Chiefs and Texans receive backlash from the Kansas City crowd for their “show of unity” prior to Thursday’s game, Mayfield has decided he will stand for the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Ravens after the Browns quarterback previously said he would “absolutely” kneel during the song. Mayfield is a member of the team’s 11-player social justice committee.
“After reading many letters and messages… I have been showed [sic] that a gesture such as kneeling will only create more division or discussion about the gesture, rather than be a solution towards our country’s problem at hand,” Mayfield wrote Saturday on Twitter.
“My heart is even more passionate than it was months ago, due to the fact that we are not close to being where our country needs to be. I love this country, but these challenges and adversity are an opportunity for much needed change for issues that have been going on for far too long. It is going to come down to how we handle adversity and taking advantage of our opportunities.
“I am posting this now so it is not a discussion on game day. And so the discussion can continue to be about how to better our country, instead of divide us. Our team is ready to fight for our goals both on and off the field.”
Mayfield, 25, now insists it is “not about who is standing or who is kneeling,” but who is “coming together and taking action to create real change.” As recently as Aug. 14, the former Heisman Trophy winner said he wasn’t worried about the reaction to his decision to kneel in support of the social justice movement.
“I think being in my position — which is a blessing — being out on a platform to where I can speak on issues that are just wrong. Right is right, and wrong is wrong,” Mayfield said then. “There’s a human rights issue that has been going on for a long time, and I believe in that. It’s nothing against military or anybody who served. Anybody that knows my history knows that I completely support military and the people that serve our country for the right reasons and do it for justice. The people that do not know that, that’s OK — just take your time and take a second to get to know me. It’s a human rights issue. There is right and there is wrong.”
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski wouldn’t reveal Friday if the team planned to make a statement before its first game.
“We have talked internally,” Stefanski said. “Feel really good about it, but we will keep those discussions internal.”