On Tuesday, after he spotted men serving in the U.S. Army, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield reportedly refused a directive to stop signing autographs and come back to the team. Baker took time with every single soldier, signing whatever they’d asked of him and taking photos with the servicemen.
“Baker Mayfield was called off the field by the team when autographs were supposed to be over. He refused and signed and took selfies with every soldier remaining on the field,” Cleveland.com reporter Hayden Grove captioned the video of Mayfield on Twitter.
The soldiers told the quarterback of his “biggest fans” from other cities and thanked the NFL star for taking the time for them.
The NFL, in recent years, has been plagued by controversial national anthem protests, seen by many Americans as a slight to the men and women who fight for our freedom. As reported last month, former 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick directed Nike to cancel a Betsy Ross-style American flag shoe. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Kaepernick found the Revolution era sneaker “offensive.”
Mayfield’s small nod to those who serve in the U.S. military is a look in the other direction.
Mayfield made headlines in May, too, when he took a swing at political correctness. The 24-year-old ripped into administration at an Ohio high school for dropping valedictorian and salutatorian honors out of sensitivity to students who don’t earn the awards and a concern for the overall “mental health” of students.
“This is so dumb,” he wrote in a tweet captioning the news. “You’re telling me competition doesn’t bring out the best in people? If you want something bad enough, work for it.”
“People are too soft,” added Mayfield.
The message went viral, racking up over 51,000 re-tweets and 242,000 likes.
Despite mild criticism from opponents for his aggressive on-field attitude, the charismatic QB has developed a notable role as a motivator on his own team. In a “mic’ed up” video posted by the Browns in January, Mayfield drops endless silly one-liners, encourages his teammates and celebrates their successes, and even offers to block for his running backs.