The Cleveland police and EMS unions have responded to the Cleveland Browns taking a knee for the National Anthem with a big thumb to the eye.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association and ILA Local 1975, which represents the city’s EMTs, paramedics and dispatchers, as well as some police officers, were set to hold a big American flag for the Browns opening game, Fox 8 reported.
But those plans changed when, in a preseason game two weeks ago, a group of Browns players decided to take a knee during the National Anthem.
“This hit home with me. I am a veteran, an 8-year veteran with the U.S. Marine Corps. So, to disrespect the flag by taking a knee is not something I was going to be a part of,” union President Daniel Nemeth told Fox 8.
Police union President Steve Loomis agreed when Fox 8 reached him t a police convention out-of-state.
“I’m here at a national police convention, and soon as they hear that I’m from Cleveland, the first question is ‘What about those stinking Browns?'” he said. “So if the ownership of the Browns and the league are going to allow that type of stuff to happen, and then come to us and say, ‘We want you to help us with the flag,’ that’s hypocritical. We’re not gonna participate.”
A city spokesman told Fox 8 that the team plans to replace the first responders with members of the military.
The Browns did not respond to Fox 8’s request for comment on this story, but previously issued a statement after the players kneeled for the National Anthem.
“As an organization, we have a profound respect for our country’s National Anthem, flag and the servicemen and servicewomen in the United States and abroad,” the team said. “We feel it’s important for our team to join in this great tradition and special moment of recognition, at the same time we also respect the great liberties afforded by our country, including the freedom of personal expression.”
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