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BEREA, Ohio (WJW)– The Cleveland Browns were part of several initiatives to encourage voter registration and voting in the area ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

But it starts in the locker room. Joel Bitonio, a member of the Browns social justice committee, said he’s pretty sure everyone on the team is registered, and a lot of players have mailed in their ballots or done early voting.

“Voting is the key to change and, you know, we have to go out there and be a part of it if we want to talk about change, if we want to talk about fixing things in our communities,” the Browns veteran said during a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday. “Tuesday is going to be a good day to say, ‘Hey, these guys are out there, we’re voting, we’re a part of this community.'”

While there aren’t many political discussions happening around the team facility, Bitonio said when there have been talks, it’s been cordial. He said people are open and want to learn.

“It’s nice because you have so many different backgrounds in a football locker room that you actually have a pretty good kind of national audience when you talk about these things.”

Continuing on the topic of social justice, Bitonio, running back Kareem Hunt, head coach Kevin Stefanski and more wore “Stay in the Game” T-shirts on Thursday. The campaign aims to encourage students to go to school or participate in virtual classes every day, especially in the midst of the pandemic.

“They look up to professional athletes a lot,” Hunt said.

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