Cleveland Browns’ “unity” video screenshot

The Cleveland Browns, the one NFL team that have been the most demonstrably vocal in support of Colin Kaepernick’s principled stance against racial bias in U.S. policing, played a video before the start of the national anthem in their first game of the season Sunday.

And it was … interesting.


Against a backdrop of patriotic images, and stuffed with worthless platitudes like, “We believe in unity, we believe in justice, we believe in freedom”; “Love conquers all, and with that, we can keep America great”; and “Not just for the red, white and blue we don on our porches, but what it stands for,” the 30-second video left me underwhelmed. I mean, duh.

At this point, all of that is cute, but we have to say explicitly what it is that we are protesting (if I’m not mistaken, that would be unbridled police violence against black men, women and children in America) or it becomes too easy to sweep the real issues under an old, filthy-ass rug that far too many Americans ignore and walk over every day. I know it’s not easy, but it’s necessary if we ever want to make any substantive change. But I digress …

The video, played before the Browns’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, features head coach Hue Jackson and African-American and white players Joe Thomas, DeShone Kizer, Jamie Collins, Christian Kirksey and Randall Telfer.


Since 12 Browns players stood in a prayer circle during the national anthem during an August preseason game, the Cleveland police union (the same one that defended a cop who killed a 12-year-old Tamir Rice, firing on the child after two seconds, mind you) demanded an apology from the players and boycotted a ceremony during this very game.


I guess the “unity” video is trying to appease all sides. Except it appeases none.

By the way, the Browns shit the bed in their first punt return of the game, giving the Steelers an easy touchdown. (I got that from Twitter. I am not watching.)


Many say they will boycott the NFL this season in support of Kaepernick, who, because of his stance against racially biased policing and brutality, has not been picked up by any NFL team.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Deputy Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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