The Cleveland police union will protest the national anthem in protest of national anthem protesters.
Under the thinking that you can’t protest a flag that doesn’t exist, the union said it will launch an upcoming counter-protest, in which they vow they won’t hold the American flag for a pregame ceremony during the Browns’ season opener on Sept. 10.
A dozen Browns players, including the first white anthem protester, took a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in an Aug. 21 preseason game.
Union members had planned on participating in the flag ceremony prior to the kneel-downs. Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis told Cleveland.com that after Browns management and ownership had not stopped the team from protesting, they had to take action.
“It’s just ignorant for someone to do that,” Loomis said. “It just defies logic to me.
The fact that management was aware of what they planned on doing, that’s as offensive as it can get.”
Browns executives have not publicly criticized the players, with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown saying, “We respect their efforts to use their platform to make some change.” That respect is not shared by Loomis, who’s showing his disdain for national anthem protests by protesting the national anthem.
“When management allows you to do those things, then that’s on them,” he said. “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 [hold the flag].”
Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia tried to emphasize the separation of the entire force and the union.
“The union does not speak for the Division,” Ciaccia told HuffPost. “The Division of Police is in no way boycotting the Browns, nor denying participation in events with our officers.”
Since the protests began last year, there have been several standoffs between NFL teams and the police in the cities they reside.
A Florida police union asked deputies not to escort Dolphins players from the stadium after some knelt for the anthem last year.
Additionally, a California police union threatened to boycott 49ers games last year after Colin Kaepernick sparked the trend.