CLEVELAND -- It was a move that sparked a lot of reaction from fans all over the country: 12 Browns players took a knee during the national anthem at Monday night's preseason game against the New York Giants.
On Tuesday, one of those players spoke out.
"Respect to all the veterans, respect to the military -- we are not protesting against them. We have our reasons for doing what we did, and last night felt like the right time to do it, and that's why we did it," Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey said.
The game was broadcast on national TV, but there are others who say these players disrespected not only the flag, but their country, and the brave men and women who fought so they could stand there free.
Kirksey on Tuesday night hosted his third annual Strikes for Kids bowling event at Freeway Lanes in Parma.
"Giving back to the community, leading by example on and off the field to show kids we care and give back," Kirksey said of hosting the event.
But in between high fives and hellos, he also spoke of his decision to sit out "The Star Spangled Banner."
A total of 12 players took a knee and shared a moment of prayer instead of the anthem. Other teammates huddled around in support. It was the largest group of NFL players not to stand during the national anthem since Colin Kaepernick started his protest one year ago.
"I have mad respect for it. My brother served, a lot of other player's families served. To see my brothers I play with do that, I am not going to shame them for it. It's something they believe," Kirksey said.
A group of season ticket holders, veterans, and officers plan to protest at the next game against the Steelers. Kirksey says he's not sure if they'll take a knee again ... it all depends on how they are feeling.