All eyes will be on Baker Mayfield this season. The Cleveland Browns quarterback is entering his third season after being selected with the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. He hasn’t lived up to his potential and this could be a make-or-break year for the former Heisman Trophy winner. On Sunday, Baker won’t be just scrutinized for his play on the field, but he’ll be watched closely before the game. Mayfield once said there was no question he’d be kneeling during the national anthem this year but has apparently changed his tune.
Baker Mayfield hasn’t lived up to expectations in the NFL
Maybe by Cleveland Browns standards, Baker Mayfield is a success. Before Mayfield was selected by the team with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Browns were a complete mess. In 2017, the Browns were winless. The year before, they were 1-15. Before that, they took Johnny Manziel in the first round.
When Mayfield arrived in Cleveland, he started 13 games as a rookie and went 6-7. The team finished with a 7-8-1 mark, a marked improvement from their winless season. The team had high hopes for 2019 with another year of experience under Mayfield’s belt.
The team also had a pretty impressive list of offensive weapons in wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, along with a young running back in Nick Chubb. Expectations were high, but the Browns finished a disappointing 6-10. Mayfield threw 22 touchdown passes but added 21 interceptions.
Mayfield said he ‘absolutely’ will kneel for the national anthem
Back in August, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said he will ‘absolutely’ kneel for the national anthem. According to Cleveland.com, Mayfield said during a Zoom call that he had no regrets about previously saying he would be kneeling for the national anthem when the season began in 2020.
He said he would kneel to support racial equality. “I do not have any regrets,’’ Mayfield said. “Being in my position, which is a blessing, being out on a platform to where I can speak on issues that are just wrong. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. There is a human rights issue that has been going on for a long time, and I believe in that.’’
He stressed his kneeling had nothing to do with the American flag and his kneeling is no sign of disrespect to the military. “It’s nothing against military or anybody who served,’’ he said. “Anybody that knows my history knows that I completely support military and the people that serve our country for the right reasons and do it for justice. The people that don’t know that, that’s OK – just take your time and take a second to get to know me. It is a human rights issue. There is right, and there is wrong.”
Mayfield changes tune and will now stand
On Saturday, Baker Mayfield, a month after stating he ‘absolutely’ would kneel for the national anthem, reversed his course. In a Twitter post, Mayfield said he would now stand. He changed his mind after watching the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans game Thursday night.
“After watching Thursday’s game and also watching the Dolphins players’ video, it shows that it is not about who is standing or who is kneeling for the anthem,” Mayfield wrote. “But instead, coming together and taking action to create real change. Also after reading many letters and messages over the past few weeks, I have been showed that a gesture such as kneeling will only create more division or discussion about the gesture, rather than be a solution towards our country’s problems at hand. With that being said, I am choosing to stand for both anthems to show respect, love, and unity to everybody involved.”
Mayfield said he wanted to get the message out early so it wouldn’t be a discussion on game day. He also said he would respect any decision his teammates made regarding the anthem.