Multiple Bengals Say They Abandoned Plans To Kneel During The Anthem To Avoid Potential Retribution After Owner Mike Brown Intervened

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This September will mark the fourth anniversary of the first time Colin Kaepernick kneeled during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to call attention to police brutality (although his protest technically started a week prior when he sat on the bench during the anthem before reassessing his approach after consulting with a Green Beret).

The move sparked a shitstorm that increased in intensity with each passing week as some people accused him of disrespecting the flag and those who fought for it and others saying he was exercising his right to free speech made possible by those who defended it. That season would end up being his last one in the NFL, and while he’s attempted a comeback on multiple occasions, he’s failed to find a home.

Other players in the league would follow Kaepernick’s lead and kneel in solidarity with the quarterback, which didn’t sit particularly well with a number of people—including Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown.

On Monday, a reporter at WLWT posted a lengthy thread of tweets concerning an incident that transpired a few weeks into the 2017 season. After Brown learned several players were planning on kneeling ahead of a game against the Packers, he intervened the day before the contest in an attempt to ward off the potential backlash and multiple members of the team claimed it was all but stated future contracts would be impacted if they ignored his pleas.

When everything was said and done, those who wanted to protest decided to link arms on the sidelines but weren’t exactly thrilled about being forced to resort to the alternative.

In recent weeks, more and more NFL owners, coaches, and players have voiced their intention to kneel in the fall, and given how the climate has changed, it would be a very bad look for Brown if he decides to go down this path again. However, only time will tell how things ultimately play out.