This Tuesday night, singer Leah Tysse took the audience at a Sacramento Kings game by surprise when she took a knee while singing the National Anthem.
Tysse, who is a breast cancer survivor, was met with both praise and criticism on social media after she explained that her actions were done in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who’s been sitting out the National Anthem as a protest against police violence and civil rights abuses.
In a statement posted to her Facebook page Tuesday, Tysse called the gesture the “most patriotic thing I could do.”
“I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability,” she wrote. “The sad reality is, as a white American, I am bestowed a certain privilege in this nation that is not enjoyed by all people. Black families are having much different conversations with their children about how to interact with the police than white families.”
— HeatherPeterson KFBK (@heatherp_kfbk) October 11, 2016
According to the Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento Kings organization said it respected Tysse’s right “to exercise her freedom of speech.”
NBA rules require players, coaches and trainers to stand during the national anthem. But the Kings staged their own form of protest by locking arms with players on the Los Angeles Lakers before a game at Honda Center earlier this month.
Watch CBS13‘s report on the story below: