CLEVELAND — The Cleveland police chief is disputing comments by the police union president regarding protests by Cleveland Browns’ players during the national anthem.

Unions representing Cleveland police and paramedics say they won’t hold a large American flag before the Cleveland Browns’ season opener because of previous player protests.

Cleveland chief Calvin Williams said Sunday it’s not accurate that Cleveland officers are against participating in Browns’ events.

Williams said the department continues to communicate with the Cleveland Browns organization.

Williams says protect the rights of citizens to express views protected by the First Amendment no matter the issue.

Nearly a dozen Browns players knelt during the anthem before a preseason home game last month, angering the unions.

The Browns’ protests are part of a social-consciousness movement.