Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown says he'll "never kneel" for the national anthem, but Brown says he recognizes a player's right to kneel, should he choose.

The 82-year-old Brown, a champion for civil rights since his playing days, says in an interview with The Post Game:

“I don't desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I'm not gonna do anything against the flag and national anthem. I'm going to work within those situations. But this is my country, and I'll work out the problems, but I'll do it in an intelligent manner."

While Brown says "I will never kneel. And I will always respect the flag," he believes that players should decide for themselves what works best for them:

“Well, if you take the bottom line, what are we talking about? We’re talking about freedom to express one’s self, and if you don’t break any rules then you have that particular right.” 

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The whole kneeling thing began several seasons ago when then-49er Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the anthem to protest what he claimed is police brutality against minorities. It caught on quickly and escalated when President Trump called the practice disrespectful, and suggested that players who kneel should be fired.

Brown is correct on both points. There are ways to address concerns without disrespecting the views of others, particularly our veterans. But players certainly do have a right to protest provided the company, the NFL and its teams, approves.

At this juncture, the players must decide whether their protests are actually drawing attention to the problems they wish to address, or if they are just having an adverse effect on the league's relationship with the fan base.

Having gotten our attention on the need to address certain social concerns, perhaps the players can begin refocusing their efforts to specific issues such as the violence that plagues cities like Chicago on a daily basis.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.