Cleveland police officers to join Browns on field for home opener

CLEVELAND - Cleveland police officers will join Browns players on the field for the team's season opener Sunday, a police spokesperson confirmed Friday.

This comes after the president of the police union said officers would not participate because of players' refusal to stand during the national anthem.

More than a dozen players formed a circle on the team's sideline last month before the Browns hosted the New York Giants and prayed in silent protest during the national anthem.

RELATED: Angry fans take to Cleveland Browns Facebook page over national anthem protest

Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis said that the union members, "decided to pull out of the event after [they] learned the Browns management 'supports their players freedom of expression' and that management and their coach knew of and apparently condoned this despicable display."

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams later said Loomis' statements did not represent the viewpoint of all officers. 

A spokesperson confirmed to News 5 on Friday that 20 officers, five firefighters and five EMT workers will participate in on-field activities Sunday, before the Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

The police officials said Chief Williams and the Browns met Thursday to discuss the plans. 

City of Cleveland Director of Safety Michael McGrath issued the following statement Friday: 

On Thursday, September 7, 2017, members of the City of Cleveland, Department of Public Safety met with members and players of the Cleveland Browns Organization to discuss the ongoing partnership between the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Browns Organization. The City of Cleveland Divisions of Police, Fire and EMS have been and continue to be highly supportive of our athletes and those within the Browns Organization, participating in community events together throughout the year.  Our safety forces will participate in on-field pregame ceremonies for opening day this Sunday, September 10, 2017 with the Browns athletes.

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