CLEVELAND — By now, everyone from the President of the United States to your grandmother is talking about the ever-growing national-anthem protests in the NFL.
Players from every team have taken a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner in a show of solidarity to protest police brutality and systematic mistreatment of African-Americans. That display was no different in Cleveland, when players kneeled during the preseason and continued to do so.
While that controversial stance generated a lot of buzz, things were taken up a notch before Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals when a team employee stayed seated during the anthem.
Swagger, the live bullmastiff mascot that joined the team in 2014, was seen with his bottom on the ground and tongue sticking out while the anthem was going on. This was met with some boos from the crowd and many different reactions on social media. Some supported the dog’s right to demonstrate any way he sees fit, while others felt that it was inappropriate given that he’s a representative of the team.
However, the steady majority felt that it’s dumb that the Browns have a dog on the field but no cheerleaders.
UPDATE: President Donald Trump took to Twitter to weigh in on Swagger’s actions, calling for the dog to be disciplined. The tweet can be read below:
UPDATE 2: Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported that members of the Browns’ on-field staff believe that Swagger’s handler commanded the dog to sit just before the anthem began, even giving him a treat as a reward for doing so.