It may not seem like much, but the official Twitter account of the Cleveland Browns endorsing the actions taken by receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham in a video demanding accountability from the NFL is notable.
The easiest move is to simply allow the actions to take place without saying or doing anything. And while they are not outwardly endorsing anything specifically being said in the video, they are giving their support to their ability to speak on important issues.
In recent years, the Cleveland Browns have been largely a progressive organization in terms of allowing its players to speak out or protest. As an example, when former Browns tight end Seth DeValve made a point to kneel in protest for his wife who is black, as well as his black teammates, the Browns did not try to stand in his way.
They have not done anything to stop players on this team speaking out in the current atmosphere of the country. But to now give their tacit endorsement of such actions is yet another important step forward. This is more impactful and worthwhile than the statement the team released on the issue of systematic racism and police brutality, which largely paid lip service without actually saying anything of substance.
This specific action taken by players is demanding action from the league and one of its member organizations is endorsing the ability to communicate that message. That only serves to empower them, provide additional credibility to what they are saying.
Given the way Landry and Beckham have been speaking out on this issue on social media and within the team since George Floyd was murdered, the video they helped produce appears to be a step as opposed to the end of their activism. They appear fully prepared to continue to speak out on the subject of civil rights and social justice, demanding action. The Browns have not simply allowed it to take place, but are behind them.
The NFL released a series of tweets on Thursday, which did touch on the topic and did say black lives matter. The rest of it largely was an attempt to pat themselves on the back for actions they’ve taken. The problem for players like Landry and Beckham is they have taken no responsibility for their own actions, including against Colin Kaepernick, who was de-platformed for speaking out and protesting this exact issue. The NFL also have been one of the least least progressive sports leagues that operate in the United States, particularly when it deals with race despite having such an overwhelming number of minority players within their league.
It may not seem like much and might be largely ignored, but even something as simple as a tweet from the official Browns twitter account supporting Beckham and Landry, endorsing their right to speak and try to change the world is important.