CLEVELAND — Members of unions representing Cleveland police officers and paramedics have said they won’t hold a large U.S. flag during pregame ceremonies prior to next Sunday’s Cleveland Browns season opener.
The unions’ refusal to participate in the on-field ceremony at First Energy Stadium before next Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers comes after nearly a dozen Browns players knelt during the anthem before a preseason home game last month.
Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, cited his service in the U.S. Navy when he told WKYC-TV he was astounded that Browns management knew of the protests but allowed it to occur.
“I am not going to participate or work with management that allows their players to disrespect the flag and the national anthem,” Loomis said.
Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams released a statement Sunday night in response to the refusal to hold the flag at the Browns’ season opener.
A team spokesman has said the organization respects the anthem and flag but also respects personal expression.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association members also are refusing to participate in the flag ceremony.
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