Browns' Baker Mayfield Shuts Down Fan Who Criticized His Decision to Kneel: 'Pull Your Head Out'

"If I lose fans, that's okay," Baker Mayfield said of kneeling during the national anthem

Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield. Photo: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will kneel during the national anthem this season as a means of protesting racial injustice in the United States — and has no problem losing fans who do not support the movement.

Mayfield, 25, recently exchanged words with a fan who criticized his stance in the Instagram comments of a video the athlete shared in which he was seen working out while wearing a T-shirt that said, “I can’t breathe.” The phrase has become a rallying cry for protesters, as it was said by both George Floyd and Eric Garner, who were killed while in police custody.

After the fan wrote to Mayfield telling him to “Please tell Browns fans you’re not going to be kneeling this season,” the star responded with confirmation that he would, indeed, be kneeling.

“Pull your head out. I absolutely am,” Mayfield wrote in a comment that appears to have since been deleted, but can be seen in social media screenshots.

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Mayfield later issued a statement explaining his decision, and said he was perfectly fine with losing any fans who disagreed.

“Everybody so upset about my comment doesn’t understand the reasoning behind kneeling in the first place,” he wrote. “Nate [Boyer] and [Colin Kaepernick] came to an agreement that kneeling was the most respectful way to support our military while also standing up for equality.”

The quarterback said that while he was the “utmost respect” for the military, law enforcement and people that serve the country, his decision to kneel was rooted in equality.

“It’s about equality and everybody being treated the same because we are all human. It’s been ignored for too long and that is my fault as well for not becoming more educated and staying silent,” he wrote. “If I lose fans, that’s okay. I’ve always spoken my mind. And that’s from the heart.”

Boyer, an Army Green Beret who inspired Kaepernick to kneel rather than sit during the national anthem, was quick to respond to Mayfield’s comment about potentially losing fans.

“You just gained one,” he wrote on Twitter.

Kaepernick, then the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was the first to launch the controversial practice of kneeling during the anthem as a peaceful protest in 2016.

After blowback from fans — including President Donald Trump — and owners, the NFL adopted a policy in 2018 requiring players on the field to stand during the anthem, though they were given the option of remaining in the locker room if they wanted.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, however, recently issued a formal apology for ignoring players who kneeled, and said in an Instagram video that the NFL was “wrong” for not listening to them.

"We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter," he said. "I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League, and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff."

Goodell’s video was shared one day after a collection of NFL players released a joint video that called for the league to do more about racial inequality.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero ( which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies. works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement ( provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.

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