Christian Cleveland Browns tight end Seth DeValve became the first known white player to take a knee during the national anthem Monday.
Many of the players who joined in the prayer circle cited ongoing racial unrest for their decision to pray during the national anthem. While DeValve specifically mentioned the deadly Charlottesville protest in his comments for taking a knee, he noted that he was taking it for his family.
“I myself will be raising children that don’t look like me, and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now,” he said. “So I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country and also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do.”
“It saddens me that in 2017 we have to do something like that,” DeValve told ESPN. “I personally would like to say that I love this country. I love our national anthem. I’m very grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this country and serve this country. I want to honor them as much as I can.” “The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody. I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee.”
DeValve is said to be the youngest of four brothers. His brother, Jacob, ran track at Liberty University. He studied mechanical and aerospace engineering while at Princeton University and also worked in risk management at NRG Energy for a semester of college.