Unions that represent Cleveland police officers and first responders will not participate in one of the annual rites that precede NFL openers, with leaders saying they were offended when Browns players knelt during the national anthem before a preseason game.
The head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association says that they have decided not to hold part of the gigantic American flag as part of the pregame ceremony at the Browns’ Sept. 10 opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Typically, players, first responders, politicians and military members join in, too.
“When management allows you to do those things, then that’s on them,” Steve Loomis, the police union’s president, told Cleveland.com. “It’s hypocritical of the Browns management and ownership to want to have an armed forces first-responder day, and have us involved in it when they allow their players to take a knee during the national anthem. That’s the very representation of what we stand for. That’s why we aren’t going to.”
However, a police spokeswoman noted that the union “does not speak” for the department. public information officer Jennifer Ciaccia told the Huffington Post. “The Division of Police is in no way boycotting the Browns,” public information officer Jennifer Ciaccia told HuffPost, “nor denying participation in events with our officers.”