During the first few weeks of the 2017 season, there were several teams who were engaged in kneeling during the National Anthem to show their support for Colin Kaepernick and his fight against police brutality and racial inequality.
One team did not join that cause, but that was because the owner did not approve of it.
Multiple players told Jesse that Bengals owner Mike Brown “begged” his players to avoid kneeling for the national anthem because of the backlash and media coverage that would come with that move.
“He just begged, like really begged,” an anonymous Bengals player told Jesse. “That was my first time seeing or hearing anything like that – very emotional. That was my only time seeing that it was different. The bottom line is that he was begging us, please do not kneel. He didn’t want the backfire that was going to come from it.”
Those players also said that Brown would not listen to what they had to say about why they were kneeling for the Anthem.
The Bengals have since responded to the report.
“Mr. Brown met with all players while the team was in Green Bay. A positive and open discussion ensued. Mr. Brown shared with players his preference, but said he was not directing them what to do.”
Fast forward to 2020 and kneeling for the Anthem has become yet another topic of discussion after the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
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