The entire football team of a Seattle high school, including the coaches, “took a knee” during the National Anthem in a protest of “social injustices.”
According to Q13 Fox, about five players on the opposing team knelt as well in an apparent show of solidarity.
In a statement, the Seattle Public School District expressed their support for the team at Garfield High School, saying that students “kneeling during the national anthem are expressing their rights protected by the First Amendment. Seattle Public Schools supports all students’ right to free speech.”
Garfield head coach Joey Thomas says his players plan to protest for the remainder of the season.
“This came from them,” Thomas said to King5 News. “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 whole purpose of this, Kaepernick said and we have said several times, that this isn’t about disrespecting our troops. We love our troops. It’s because of our troops we can exercise this right, freedom of speech.”
“The conversation started two weeks ago, and we were talking about life and some of the things some of the young men have experienced as far as social injustices, and how to deal with certain situations being a man of color,” Thomas continued. “It’s very refreshing to see these young men and women stand up for what they believe in, and I hope this inspires some other teams and other individuals to do the same thing.”
The high schoolers’ protest comes in the wake of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s choice to sit out the National Anthem before NFL games as a protest against police violence.
Kaepernick’s actions have brought heavy criticism from fans, players, and NFL executives who’ve lobbed accusations that the football player is “disrespecting the flag” or “disrespecting the troops.”
Watch a report on the story from King5 in the video below: