Seth DeValve quietly made a very loud statement Monday night.
DeValve, the Cleveland Browns’ second-year tight end out of Princeton, became the first white NFL player to kneel during the national.
The Connecticut native joined a group of Browns players who gathered near the team bench and knelt in a circle. Several other players stood near them.
“The United States is the greatest country in the world,” said the 24-year-old after the Browns’ preseason victory over the Giants. “It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody. And I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there’s things in the country that still need to change.
“We took the opportunity to pray for our country and for the men and women in this country during that time,” said DeValve.
DeValve also admitted that joining the peaceful protest movement started last season by then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a very personal meaning for him.
“I myself will be raising children that don’t look like me,” said DeValve, who is married to a black woman. “I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now.”
According to Cleveland.com, linebacker Christian Kirksey led the prayer.
“If anyone was wondering what was going on in that circle, we were saying a prayer and we were just praying over the country,” Kirksey said. “We tried to do it as respectfully as possible.”
Browns punter Britton Colquitt did not kneel, but he stood with his arm on one of his kneeling black teammates.
Colquitt joined Eagles defensive end Chris Long and Seahawks center Justin Britt as the two other white NFL players this preseason to place their arm on a kneeling black teammates during the player of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
DeValve, who started two games as a rookie last season and had 10 catches, including two for touchdowns, is listed as the Browns second-string tight end.
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