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Hue Jackson clarifies his National Anthem thoughts

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson has found himself in the news cycle after answering a question on August 14 about if he would support his players kneeling for the National Anthem. After some national television shows attempted to read between the lines of what he said, Jackson cleared the air on Thursday with a detailed message, which he read off a pre-written script.

WFNY is providing both his original response and his clarification below.

August 14, Hue Jackson answers what his reaction would be if a Browns player sat during the National Anthem:
“I think everybody has a right to do, and I get it, but the National Anthem means a lot to myself personally, the organization and our football team. I hope – again I can’t speak, I haven’t really talked to our team about it – I would hope that we don’t have those issues. I understand there is a lot going on in the world. I like to just keep it here. What we deal with, we try to deal with as a team in our closed environment. We talk about things. Hopefully, that won’t happen. I can’t tell you it won’t happen, but I just know our guys, and I don’t think that is where our focus is. We hope the things that are going on in the world get ironed out, but I know right now we are doing everything we can to get our football team better.”

August 17, Hue Jackson clarifies his response:
“I’d like to share a couple thoughts on my recent post practice comments when I was asked about how I’d feel about a Browns player protesting during the national anthem. First off, our players know that I have a great appreciation for every single one of them. I respect and support their right for peaceful protest; a right afforded to every American. We’ve always made it clear to our players that they should embrace the platform they have as an NFL player to improve our community and use their platform in a positive, thoughtful and respectful manner. Our team, along with every other team in the NFL and every other sport at every level should reflect what is good about America – our diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, as well as equal opportunity. There are issues in our country right now that are far bigger than football, and I understand that and respect that, as well. The issues do impact our players and will compel them to react in many different ways. My personal feeling is that over the last season, we’ve seen players come under unfair scrutiny for protesting during the anthem, mainly because the focus has become on whether or not a player is being disrespectful to the flag or military and not on the issue and cause attempting to be addressed by the protest. The intent of my comments was not to discourage individual expression from our players in light of a cause that moves them to personal expression. I’m disheartened that I gave anyone that impression because I did not speak with enough clarity. However, my words did reflect my concern – that I would express to any player – about protesting during the anthem. There are many effective ways athletes can utilize their platform if they so desire, but I would respect any individual decision, as ultimately, it would be the player’s choice after much thoughtful dialogue. As an American, I am of the belief that our unique strength is in the diversity of our nation. As an NFL Head Coach, I strive to have this same belief reflected in how I lead and value every player on our football team, as well as every individual within our organization. My actions will continue to mirror those beliefs both personally and professionally in a manner that serves to better us as a people and as a country.

“That being said, again like I said, I think some things were kind of taken the wrong way, but at the same time I get it. Everybody has an opinion, but my players know how I feel, how I react and how I respond to what they are trying to accomplish.”

  • tigersbrowns2

    yes , “they” have the right to sit or do whatever they want … but “they” had better be ready for the backlash (see Colin Kaepernick) … it’s called respect … so , at least stand your ass up … or you could move to another country if you don’t like the way things are here.

  • Chris
  • tigersbrowns2

    lmao !! … which brings me to the recent protests … i can assure you i do not have a racist or hate bone in my body … there are good & bad in ALL races , that’s the bottom line.

    so , i’m wondering if Stone Mountain is going to have to come down now … and I’m sorry , but Mr. Trump is right , do we tear down the Washington monument now as well ? Jefferson Memorial ? i am totally against what the KKK & Neo-Nazis stand for , but there WERE decent folks protesting the removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue & Trump mentioned this & then they twist it to where he is supporting the KKK & Neo-Nazis … ridiculous.

    this is also a tough subject from a darker time in our history … I’m pretty sure if you lived in the south during the Civil War , you were going to fight for the south , even if you didn’t believe in the underlying cause … tough subject.

  • Eric G

    Good job, Coach. I think the majority of us knew what he meant, but that doesn’t get clicks.

  • tsm

    We did this at my school when I was about that age.

  • tsm

    We need to understand the distinction between seeing “both sides” and the concept of moral equivalence. One side might be much worse than the other, but that doesn’t make the other side heroes, regardless of their behavior. No excuse for violence.
    As far as statues, let the locals in each situation decide without everyone else attempting to pressure them.

  • Chris

    Want to feel old? I watched that video in 7th grade history class… as a history lesson.

  • tsm

    Thanks for that! Now, I must shuffle off to get my depends changed.

  • Garry_Owen

    He didn’t need to clarify anything. Wish he hadn’t felt the need to do so.

  • Chris
  • tigersbrowns2

    … well said.

  • MartyDaVille

    My sentiments exactly. I presume some member of the perpetually offended community parsed his original statement with a microscope and discovered some dubious grounds for outrage.

  • mgbode

    There were a few different ones but Shannon Sharpe had the sharpest criticisms.

  • tsm

    the “Sharpest” criticism.

  • Garry_Owen

    I don’t believe that we have ever lived in an era where free speech is more chilled than it is now, and the sad thing is that it’s by mob rule, and not by any governmental regulation. If it was the latter, there would be Constitutional recourse. As it is, though, there is no recourse but to bend, break, and conform to what the masses demand. It is, in my opinion, the single most frightening thing about the world and culture that we live in.

  • MartyDaVille

    Yeah, it’s kind of fascist, isn’t it?

  • Garry_Owen

    In a way, it’s much worse. The term is thrown around far too loosely now, but “fascism” at least connotes an organized political movement. That fact that this is not a concrete political movement but a changing cultural norm makes it terrifying. Free speech is no longer an American cultural value, and that is horrifying. You could say that “fascistic groupthink” is becoming the prevailing cultural value.

  • MartyDaVille

    That’s why the so-called “anti-fascist” label used by the alt-left radicals is so laughable. They endeavor to shut down all speech they find objectionable and practice intolerance in the name of tolerance.

  • Garry_Owen

    While the so-called “fourth estate” either turns a blind eye or lauds it. Terrifying.

  • mgbode

    ah, indeed.

  • CBiscuit

    In summation: Garry says eff Hue

  • Garry_Owen

    Nah. Just want Hue to be Hue and to be free to be the best Hue that Hue can be as Hue see(s) fit.

  • CBiscuit

    Labeling or disagreeing with one’s speech is not the same as “shut down all speech.” People are still free to say terrible things, and public folks and media are free to say that it’s terrible.

    There is no duty to be “tolerant” of everyone’s message. And certain no one has to be tolerant of abhorrent or hateful speech. In fact, no one of any political strip should be tolerant of that.

    Old crusty Bannon even called those VA protesters clowns yesterday on his way out. Many other decent right wing folks condemned the messages of that hate speech too. It shouldn’t be that hard to do.

  • CBiscuit

    Fair enough. Well I hope Hue find what Hue are looking for and Hue have a fantastic weekend.

  • Garry_Owen

    Hey, Hue, too!

  • Garry_Owen

    But why should anyone HAVE to condemn anything? And who is the arbiter of what is “hate speech?” The 1st Amendment isn’t. So do we just adjust that as the public whim adjusts? That’s a major problem. (See, e.g., Canada.)

  • CBiscuit

    Sorry, my wording wasn’t clear w respect to that. Yes, hate speech is protected by the 1st amend and people are free to heil Hitler all day long to the extent that it does not incite violence (and whatever other restrictions there are on the freedom of speech that I can’t remember from Con Law!). That part is decided by the courts. Time place and manner assemblies, freedoms to speech, all of that aside…

    The point that you guys seem to be getting at is that while we all agree people are free to say fascist things (for lack of better term), why people have the right to try to quash this (through counter voices, rejection of the messages, media and social media, etc). Do we owe a duty to be tolerant of these messages? No. And why would we? Don’t we have a freedom to think and speak our minds too? The people are speaking and largely reject the VA protesters’ generally hateful messages.

    To your question, “do we just adjust…”? I’m not telling you to adjust anything. Speak your mind and believe your beliefs. Don’t be mad that others disagree or that the world is changing and “public whim” changes and becomes more progressive…or at least otherwise changes. It will always change and you are free to adjust or not.

  • Garry_Owen

    The point was simply that Hue shouldn’t have to backtrack and clarify a statement of his belief just because the mob said he should, but that’s the environment we live in now. It’s chilling. It’s obviously so.

    As for “speaking out against” so-called fascism, the point about Antifa was not that they aren’t free to “say” something in opposition to speech that they find objectionable, it’s that they are not any more entitled to use violence (not “counter voices, rejection of the messages, media and social media”) to silence it than anyone is – but that is what they have repeatedly done. We should all be mad about that to the same degree that we’re mad about Nazi clowns acting like Nazi clowns. It’s not good. It’s not acceptable. It’s not freedom.

    Otherwise, I’m not sure how this became about me, or my alleged anger at a “changing” or “progressive” world. (Assume the “you” was general; maybe not.) But if the public chilling of speech is “progress,” then I reject the command to not “be mad.” Because whatever the chilling of speech is, it ain’t “progress,” and it does piss me off, regardless of the direction it’s aimed, and I won’t adopt it. I will always advocate more, and more, and more speech, even if the public or the world says “less.” I defend the right of people to say that someone should be silenced; I just don’t think anyone should be silenced or condemned for speaking (or not speaking, or not speaking what the mob says they should speak).

    The last word is yours. It’s (nearly) five-o-clock; I’m tired of all of this conflict; I realize everything I said can be and will be used against me; and because I’m doing this pro se, I know I suffer from insufficient counsel. Eff it. Let’s go bowling.

  • MartyDaVille

    Thank you, CB. When I mentioned shutting down speech, I was referring to the several recent episodes of leftists forcing the cancellation of speeches on college campuses. That is shutting down speech they find objectionable and that is inexcusable.

    And I in no conceivable way believe that anyone has to be tolerant of anybody else’s message and I would never ever suggest such a thing.

    And I get this from some of my liberal friends and it frustrates me to no end. Just because I criticize violent behavior by radical leftists does not mean that I’m in favor of violent behavior by radical rightists or in favor of bigoted speech or in favor of white supremacists or in favor of yada yada yada. This drives me crazy. Just because group A is infinitely worse than group B does not mean that group B isn’t bad.

    God, I hate having to defend myself like this all the time.

  • mgbode

    Hey guys, I saw that there were a few places that when a hate group staged a free speech rally, the opposition group would show up and cheer them on by purposefully “misunderstanding” what they were chanting. They would gather donations for anti-hate group charities for every mile they walked and make sure they thanked them for helping that group.

    I always look for a way to turn a bad situation into a good one. This idea appears to be just a way to do so and doesn’t silence or condemn anyone.

  • Steve

    “The way things are here” is that there isnt a backlash for expressing dissenting political opinions.

  • Steve

    The slippery slope makes no sense regarding the monuments. Even if you think the line is hazy, treason is so clearly on the wrong side of it.

    We don’t still have statues of King George either.

  • Steve

    People shouting back at you that your opinion is dumb is not curbing your free speech.

  • Steve

    The big issue being missed here is that we are completely misrecognizing what this “chilling” of free speech actually is. Its actually the other side finally getting a chance with the microphone.

    You want to know what actual mob mentality preventing you from speaking your mind looks like? Check out pre civil rights activists for minorites and LGBT. You wont find me doing much defending of anyone recommending physical violence against even real Nazis, much less just the cosplayers. But the threats against them are laughable compared to what held back certain minority groups in the past, and, really, still goes on today in some places.

    Frankly its insulting to say what is going on today is chilling free speech more than ever before. Its just that traffic is no longer going only in your direction.

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  • Saggy

    Those fighting for the Confederacy were fighting AGAINST the United States of America. They were as much an enemy of the USA as Germany or Japan in WWII.

    Those who were their leaders, regardless of where they went to Military Academy, were therefore enemies, too. Why would you have a statue for people who sought to bring down this democracy? Washington and Jefferson, despite having ties to slavery, risked their lives to create this nation, which would ultimately abolish slavery – the one thing that the Confederacy defended to their death.

    Forget about the issues the Confederates fought for; just remember they fought AGAINST the United States of America.

  • CBiscuit

    I don’t mean to toss anything nasty your way–so I apologize if any tone rubbed you the wrong way. Sincerely.

    I agree with you that there are extreme elements of any political stripe or group–but I do think Trump is quick to usher out that fact as though the instigator hate group is somehow absolved of its proper blame. I think that there are elements of radical leftists (espec in the Berkeley area–I’ve seen them personally) that are very rigid in their thinking…and I guess “intolerant” in a different way. And maybe they’re tolerant in all of the civil ways (racially, orientation, age, nationality, etc)–but they are intolerant in other ways that they won’t ever hear out a non-instigating perfectly reasonable conservative POV. That Milos guy from Breitbart was nothing more than an attention getting alt right troll…but beyond him, I think the extreme leftists could stand to be be more open for sure. But all of that is just extremists on either side–something the media fixates on, and not the majority of all of us.

    And you shouldn’t have to defend yourself. People have a hard time seeing nuance, which is sad. When we’re in conversation with our more left leaning friends, I’ll challenge an issue that with a more conservative POV if the leftist perspective insults my soul. It doesn’t always go over extremely well since everyone wants us to be in lock step camps so we all know where we stand in simplistic ways– but I think we can all push back on knee jerk partisan positions.

  • CBiscuit

    Ok, so the moment may be past us but I did want to respond. The idea that a mass rejection of something is a “mob” vs. say a “moral sea change” or something positive–is a tough starting point. Certainly, you choose your words carefully, so the idea that a group of people are saying we have had enough of X; we reject X; and we don’t like people who view X—is a “mob” or operating on a “whim” certainly suggests you’re not on board with their position, beyond their tactics. Or maybe not? I could be wrong, but “mob” is a pejorative that suggests strong arming with bad motives.

    But ok, that aside–say all of the people who spoke out in outrage are a bunch of outraging, whimsical types who are shouting down the X view. Even if you think it’s histrionics or a group think bully pulpitting down upon on the minority view, why are we not ok with that when it’s directed at shutting down hateful messages? Isn’t the voice of the people is the basis for defining our public behavior and moral code (and laws)?

    And these views and morals change, and that’s not a bad thing. We once believed slavery was acceptable, minor children could be made to work, women should not be allowed to vote, a list of hundreds of terrible things that at their time, were publicly permissible. So people now have a voice, and there is a progressive strength to calling out folks when they discriminate, when they oppress, and when their insensitive to discrimination and oppression. Does it go too far and make good people sometimes have to nervously explain themselves and always be on their toes? Yeah it does, and that’s hard–and I can see why people don’t like to have to worry. But I’d rather live in a world where we err on that side rather than the generally callous & selfish course of existence we’ve been on.

    And honestly, maybe the PC culture or “mob” is not perfect; people do get annoying with their identity politics; and people get defensive and do not like to be told that they are morally wrong and resist changing worldviews— but maybe there’s something to this that’s right, and the statements by the alt right folks & a clown show of a President are wrong and worth chilling.

  • MartyDaVille

    “People have a hard time seeing nuance, which is sad.”

    Amen, brother. It’s getting more and more difficult to have an intelligent debate in a respectful way because some (many?) passionate people of all stripes immediately exaggerate the other person’s stance, ascribe ugly motives to them, paint with the ol’ broad brush, let themselves be ruled by emotion rather than reason, and will never, ever concede that the other side has a valid point. I try not to do this, but sometimes I get caught up in it too.

    I miss the quaint notion that “reasonable people can disagree.” Lately, all opinion that differs from one’s own is branded as unreasonable. I hate it.

    Peace, CB.

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  • tigersbrowns2

    hi SAGGY … so , if your great great grandfather had fought for the south , that made him less of an American because some politicians decided it was best for the south if they seceded from the union ??

  • tigersbrowns2

    … and did you know that slavery was protected by the Constitution before the start of the war ?? So , it was the law of the land , the entire land, not just the south.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi STEVE … slavery was protected by the U.S. Constitution at the time of the war … as wrong as it was , it was the law of the land … so , yes it is a little hazy … it was a different time.

  • Steve

    Slavery was not protected. It was just left out completely. And regardless of the legal status of it, the Southern states still committed treason.

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