During the first few weeks of the 2017 season, NFL teams were kneeling for the national anthem to show their support for Colin Kaepernick and his fight against police brutality. One team in particular didn't join the cause because its owner didn't approve, according to a new report.
According to Elise Jesse of WLWT, the Cincinnati Bengals held an emergency meeting right before a showdown with the Green Bay Packers. The goal of the meeting was to make sure that players didn't kneel during the national anthem.
In fact, several players told Jesse that Bengals owner Mike Brown "begged" his players to avoid kneeling for the national anthem because of the backlash and media coverage that would come with that move.
"He just begged, like really begged," an anonymous Bengals player told Jesse. "That was my first time seeing or hearing anything like that - very emotional. That was my only time seeing that it was different. The bottom line is that he was begging us, please do not kneel. He didn't want the backfire that was going to come from it."
Players said that Brown wouldn't really listen to what they had to say and why kneeling for the anthem is important to them.
The Bengals have since responded to the report with a statement:
“Mr. Brown met with all players while the team was in Green Bay. A positive and open discussion ensued. Mr. Brown shared with players his preference, but said he was not directing them what to do.”
With the 2020 season only a few months away, the Bengals will have a decision to make regarding this matter. Multiple players on other franchises have already made it known they will not be standing for the national anthem.
Brown didn't agree with his players kneeling in the past, but perhaps the current circumstances have changed his mind.