While no player on either side knelt, the in-state rivals did link arms with opposing team members and coaches while standing in midfield to signal an apparent message of unity.
Last Sunday, three Cleveland teammates—defensive end Myles Garrett, wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge, and safety Ronnie Harrison—knelt for their Week 1 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
Garrett stated that no offense was intended by the gesture of protest.
“Just a message. No disrespect to anybody who’s served or anybody who’s in law enforcement or is serving right now,” he said. “Anybody who’s served that I know, I don’t think they take it as a disrespectful thing. It’s not that. If we continue to switch it up, we’ll worry about that next week. But my decision to do that has been no bearing on my game or it doesn’t bear on my conscious either. After that, I’m in game mode.”
The Browns and Bengals’ Thursday display seemed to mimic a similar act one week earlier when the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans linked arms after the anthem at Arrowhead Stadium.
The message was intended to call attention to racial injustice, though it was booed by some fans.
This Sunday, the Browns will go head to head against Washington at FirstEnergy Stadium, while the Bengals will compete against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
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