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.”