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Seth DeValve took a knee in support of his teammates

The Browns' circle of kneeling players before Monday night's game against the Giants has been called a lot of things over the past 12 hours.

Tight end Seth DeValve, believed to be the first white NFL player to kneel during the national anthem, called it what it was to those inside the huddle. A prayer group.

"We took the opportunity to pray for our country and for the men and women in this country during that time," DeValve said, via

Added linebacker Christian Kirksey, who, according to DeValve, was the leader of what the team referred to as a "personal expression":

"You always have to, with everything you do, you have to have respect first and foremost and we did it in a way, we were saying a prayer," Kirksey said. "If anyone was wondering what was going on in that circle, we were saying a prayer and we were just praying over the country, praying over things that we were going on, we tried to do it as respectfully as possible and we respect everything that happened with people in the military, we respect all of that. We just felt it was the right time to do that, say a prayer, pray over this country."

A week after we saw Seahawks center Justin Brittput his hand on Michael Bennett's shoulder while Bennett sat on the bench and Eagles defensive end Chris Long put his arm aroundMalcolm Jenkins while Jenkins raised his fist, it seems the solidary "protests" of a year ago have taken on a much more unified front. In the wake of tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, players have been coming together to raise awareness for social injustices or simply understanding like never before.

"The United States is the greatest country in the world," DeValve said. "It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn't provide equal opportunity to everybody. And I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's things in this country that still need to change."

The piece has plenty of thoughtful quotes not only from DeValve, but a group of Browns players in the pregame huddle from last night and a second group of players who stood nearby in support. It's worth reading why everyone felt connected on Monday night.

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