Updated September 25, 2016
On August 26, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated during the singing of the national anthem prior to a Green Bay Packers game.
Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid knelt during the singing of the national anthem before the team’s September 1 preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on the bench during the playing of the anthem before the team’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
These professional football players — and others — have sought to bring attention to social inequality and the deaths of minority men at the hands of America’s police.
High school teams across the country are also taking a knee, many to community criticism.
“The highest court in the land ruled long ago, and it’s been upheld time after time, that students do not leave their free speech rights at the schoolhouse gate,” said Bob Farrace, director of public affairs for the National Association of Secondary School Principals. He noted that the Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that public school students in Iowa could wear black armbands to silently protest the Vietnam War.
Jeremi Duru, professor of sports law at American University in Washington, D.C., comments on the movement:
“Throughout the nation, athletes on different levels are finding their voice and recognizing that they have a platform,” he said. “We haven’t seen this level of athlete activism in nearly half a century. This is a movement.”
White friends, if your immediate response to the shooting of Terence Crutcher is to try and justify why he’s dead, instead of asking why he was shot next to his disabled vehicle by those charged with as protecting and serving him, you may be the problem here. If you aren’t greatly burdened with grief for his family and you aren’t moved with compassion for the way scenes like this repeatedly kick people of color in the gut, you need to ask yourself some difficult questions about your own patriotism, your own appreciation of freedom, your own civic responsibility.
This post will attempt to document high school demonstrations as well as those featuring other non-professional athletes. Jump to the state roster.
As seen through Twitter
— Holden Kurwicki (@HoldenCBS17) September 9, 2016
— AKA (@dawood3032) September 11, 2016
— Velvet Jones (@dcmadness202) September 10, 2016
— WPGC 95.5 (@WPGC) September 17, 2016
coaches and players take a knee during anthemhttps://t.co/dzKQh3PmU6
— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) September 17, 2016
— "EJ Holland" (@EJHollandBGI) September 24, 2016
— Rattle & Hum Sports (@CowboyCamp) September 24, 2016
The Castlemont Knights during the National Anthem before last Friday's football game in Oakland: pic.twitter.com/AJvsP3maDR
— Castlemont Football (@CastlemontFB) September 20, 2016
extremely good https://t.co/fzGIkk4zc2
— The tiger, He destroyed his cage (@_swerrvin) September 25, 2016
The State Roster
Non-professional athletes — collegiate, high school, and prep — as well as fans and coaches in 23 states and the District of Columbia have joined Kaepernick’s consciousness-raising.
- Anchorage, West Anchorage High School; six football players
- Elk Grove, Laguna Creek High School; some players
- Oakland, Castlemont High School; Sept 17 and Sept 24, where they were joined by Kaepernick
- San Francisco, Mission High School; every player on the football team (again Sept 24)
- Aurora Central High School; about half of the football team
- Palm Beach Lakes High School; three football players [“Take a knee, people riot,” running back Jalen Wright said Tuesday. “Take a bullet, people quiet.”]
- Augusta, Laney High School; one football player knelt briefly
- Grovetown High School; at least three football players kneeled during the anthem
- Bloomington, Illinois Wesleyan University; two football players
- Rock Island High School; some football players
- Rockport, Auburn High School; some football players
- Indianapolis, Indiana Fever; professional basketball team
- Terre Haute, Indiana State University; one football player
- Davenport, Rock Island High School; six football players
- Baltimore, Morgan State University; organized fans sat or stood with fists raised
- Gaithersburg, Watkin Mills High School; entire football team
- Worcester, Doherty Memorial High School; junior quarterback Michael Oppong. Three teammates followed his lead the following week.
- Ann Arbor, University of Michigan; some football players raised their fist
- East Lansing, Michigan State University; three football players raised their right fist
- Ypsilanti, Eastern Michigan University; students marched on the field protesting racist graffitti
- Edina; some football players
- Minneapolis North High School; some football players
- Minneapolis South High School; entire volleyball team
- Lincoln, Southeast High School; two football players
- Lincoln, University of Nebraska; three football players kneeled before the game with Northwestern
- Camden, Catholic Schools Diocese; students not allowed to protest
- Camden, Woodrow Wilson High School; coach Preston Brown and most football players
- Newark, Barringer High School; at least seven players and two coaches
- DeWitt, Jamesville-DeWitt High School; seven football players took a knee
- Manhatten, Liberty; WNBA team, one member sat on the bench during the anthem
- Syracuse High School; six football players
- Utica, Nottingham High School; five football players took a knee
- Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina; a group of students protested before the game and raised their fists throughout the national anthem and some band members kneeled
- Brunswick High School (Cleveland suburb); Rodney Axson is reportedly the first high school football player to follow Kaepernick’s lead and “the reaction to his protest was vitriolic”
- Tulsa, University of Tulsa; one football player
- Philadelphia, University of Philadelphia; part of the cheerleading squad
- Philadelphia, Woodrow Wilson High School; coaches and all but two football players
- Beaumont; every 11- and 12- year-old team prep football team member took a knee, as did some coaches
- Cedar Hill High School; cheerleaders
- Dallas; five members of the SMU marching band
- DeSota High School; most cheerleaders, football team, volleyball team (separate events)
- Norfolk, Maury Hill High School; a majority of the football team took a knee
- Norfolk, Old Dominion University; football team stood in a circle raised hands above heads in support of Charlotte NC and Tulsa OK
- Seattle, Garfield High School; entire football team as well as some coaches
- Seattle, Reign; professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe knelt during the anthem and said it was “a nod to Kaepernick”
- Howard University; cheerleading squad
- Montgomery, West Virginia Tech; three women volleyball players
Some have compared this student behavior with a coach leading a high school team in prayer.
HS Coach leads team to take a knee during National Anthem but coach who kneels to pray is fired. smh https://t.co/Mc38baZ9Hb
— Carolina Girl 🇺🇸 #MAGA ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@carolinagirl63) September 20, 2016
It’s a false comparison.
“This came from them,” said head coach Joey Thomas. “This came from the kids. Now don’t get me wrong, I support it 110 percent and that’s where my mind and heart was, but this is what they wanted. And I think that’s what makes this so special. This is student driven.”
“The law in this area has been settled for a long time,” Richard B. Katskee, legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said. “Parents get to decide what religion, if any, their children are exposed to, and no public school official may interfere in that relationship.”