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Browns' Myles Garrett says changes needed to combat police brutality, defends Colin Kaepernick

Nate Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal on

Published in Football

On Sunday, defensive end Myles Garrett became the latest prominent Browns player to share his feelings about the death of George Floyd.

Protests erupted across the country in recent days after Floyd died on Memorial Day while in police custody. A bystander's cellphone video shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.

Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter Friday. He and three other officers who have yet to be charged were fired Tuesday for their involvement in the Floyd tragedy.

Garrett called for "a checks and balances system that we can agree on" to combat police brutality.

He also defended former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel during the national anthem before NFL games in 2016 as he protested the oppression of people of color in the United States. Kaepernick has not been signed to play for any of the league's 32 teams since that season, yet he inspired many players, including Garrett and other members of the Browns, to protest during the anthem in 2017.

"We are all aware of the aftershocks of the death of George Floyd," Garrett wrote in a statement he posted on Twitter. "It has dominated the news cycle for this week and will continue to, as it should.

"Another defenseless man of color has been killed recently on film and other than the man who kneeled on his neck, none of the other officers have been charged when they were clearly accomplices to the murder of that man. They will most likely be terminated or placed on leave without pay just to either return to their jobs there or somewhere else while Floyd's family has to pick up the pieces. This is weekly if not daily that things of this nature happen and only now that it is being captured by clear video can people begin to understand what goes on.

"So much was made out of Colin Kaepernick kneeling, yet this what he was kneeling for while he was being criticized and now ostracized for his opinion. That wasn't and isn't right.

 

"This has been years in the making and has (led) to a build up of emotions. People are fed up and are ready to have their voices HEARD. Heard by those who sit idly while this goes on and don't listen to the voices of the scarred.

"There are more and more instances of men and women of all colors moving together to protest peacefully through the streets. In some cities it is being met with patience and understanding and in others it is being met with violence sparking the same reaction out of protestors. I don't agree with the looting and destroying of local businesses, but I also don't agree with the violence towards those peacefully protesting and the mentality of 'they loot, we shoot.'

"Change isn't always a clean process and we are going through it together. That's the only way it will change. I refuse to say all cops are bad cause that isn't true, but a checks and balances system that we can agree on is long overdue. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Garrett joined other Browns players, including wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., safety Karl Joseph, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, quarterback Baker Mayfield and center JC Tretter, the president of the NFL Players Association, who used social media to speak out about Floyd's death.

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