Covenanter Is First White NFL Player to Kneel During Anthem Prior to Game

CLEVELAND, OH (August 22, 2017) — Cleveland Browns tight-end Seth DeValve, a lifetime Covenanter, became the first white NFL player to kneel with his African-American teammates during the national anthem on Monday night prior to the team’s game against the New York Giants.

DeValve grew up attending Trinity Covenant Church, in Manchester, Connecticut. Last year, he married his wife, Erica, who is African American.

Until Monday night, only African American players had sat or kneeled during the anthem in order to bring attention to racism in the country. DeValve said he and his teammates were praying during the anthem. The 12 team members made the decision as a group prior to the game.

In an interview following the game, DeValve said:

“It saddens me that in 2017, we have to do something like that. I personally would like to say that I love this country. I love our national anthem, I’m very grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this country and to serve this country, and I want to honor them as much as I can.

“The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. The issue is, it doesn’t provide equal opportunity for everybody, and I wanted to support my African American teammates today who wanted to take a knee.

“We want to draw attention to the fact that there’s things in this country that still need to change. And I myself will be raising children that don’t look like me and 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. So I want to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country and also just draw attention to the fact that we have work to do. That’s why I did what I did.”





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About the Author

Stan Friedman

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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  1. I appreciate that he kneeled to pray with his teammates but I am not sure that national tv was aware of that. Please do not “make a stand” during the national anthem.

  2. I fail to see this as an effective way to stand with our African-American brothers. To a great number of people in our country, kneeling during the national anthem sends a negative message – that of disrespect to our country and those of many nationalities who have fought for our freedoms. While I applaud this athlete’s compassion and concern for others, I do not think that an athletic event – where most of the African-American players have been given the opportunity for a free or nearly free education and now make more money than most of us have ever seen – is the proper venue. Just something to ponder.

    1. Protest, by it’s very nature is disruptive, and there is never a “Proper Venue.” Just something to ponder…

    2. I’m interested to hear about the more effective ways you’ve found to stand with our African-American brothers and sisters.

  3. I have not heard of this football player before, but when I see that he is from Manchester, Connecticut, I’m guessing he may be a grandson to Dr. Bob Devalve, with whom I taught at Pioneer Valley Christian school in Springfield Massachusetts. Dr. DeValve was one of the most authentic and humble Christians I’ve ever known, as well as a scholar and expert in his education field. I think the determination to make hard choices and stand by one’s Christian principles may run in the family!

  4. Very proud of this young man! I know this was NOT easy for him to do. But with Christ we can ALL do hard things! I strongly feel the NFL made this into a MUCH larger issue than it was by not signing CK. He ended his protest mid season, but because they felt to ‘punish’ him and not re-sign him, it just created more of a reason for others to protest on his behalf. I gots not issue with the NFL wanting any player to stand for the National Anthem. However, I do have a major problem that they are more outraged at a man quietly kneeling, than they are at the constant domestic violence and date rape charges that constantly come up. When those matters hit the news, the owners are Silent! But When someone kneels to bring awareness to a matter, then we hear outrage form the owners? Really? That’s a Problem!

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