CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns will take the field on Sunday with some area police and firefighters in a pregame show of unity.
As part of a broader effort to connect with their community, Cleveland’s players also will run onto the field before their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers with emergency workers and military personnel. The groups will then stand together for the national anthem.
After some Browns were criticized for kneeling in prayer during the national anthem before a recent exhibition game, several players felt their display was misinterpreted and wanted to do something more to reach out to the community. They first met with owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam and later with Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams and other officers to develop a “neighborhood plan.”
Team spokesman Peter Jean-Baptiste said that may include players riding along with police on patrol and attending area meetings to help strengthen the relationship between police and citizens.