Baker Mayfield, the NFL quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, completely flip-flopped on whether he would join the national anthem kneeling protest after issuing a defiant message to angry fans.
Mayfield had previously said that he would kneel alongside some of his teammates and he didn’t care if it angered the fans.
“You know, right is right and wrong is wrong,” he said at the time. “It’s a human rights issue. It’s been going on for a long time and I believe in that.”
On Saturday, Mayfield released a statement saying that he had changed his mind after watching how other teams handled the controversy in the first game of the NFL season.
“Also after reading many letters and messages over the past weeks… I have been showed 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 problems at hand. With that being said, I am choosing to stand for both anthems to show respect, love, and unity to everybody involved,” Mayfield said.
“I will respect all of my teammates no matter their decision. We have had meaningful discussions on what true change looks like, and that change takes all of us being together,” he added.
“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,” Mayfield concluded. “Our team is ready to fight for our goals both on and off the field.”
Mayfield did stand for the national anthem Sunday before the game against the Baltimore Ravens, although some fans were upset that he was caught on the live broadcast laughing and talking during the presentation.
The Browns suffered a 38-6 blowout loss in their season opener.
Here’s more about Mayfield’s kneeling decision:
Browns QB Baker Mayfield says he’ll now stand for national anthem