Members of a youth football team in Texas have received death threats after players took a knee before a game as a show of solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest against America’s overpolicing of black communities.
April Parkerson, the mother of 11-year-old running back Jaelun Parkerson, told ABC News that the Beaumont Bulls players began receiving threatening calls after their collective protest Saturday.
She added that despite the threats, the players will continue their protest.
Parkerson told the news station that the “turning point” in her son’s awareness came this past summer and that he wanted to take action after videos of the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were posted online.
“[Jaelun] asked me what we could do about it,” Parkerson said. “So when news of Kaepernick’s protest broke, a lightbulb went off. Then, when Brandon Marshall joined in, he said, ‘OK, we’re going to do this.’”
“I said to the team, ‘Do you know what this means?’” Bulls coach Ra Ra Barber said. “And they said that they did. So I went to their parents for their approval.”
On Saturday the Bulls players took a knee and placed their hands on each other’s shoulder before the national anthem began.
Barber told the news station that after learning of the death threats, he never imagined that it would “get to this point.” He added that the threats show “how far behind we are as a society.”
A Facebook message even called for Barber to be lynched.
Barber, who began coaching as a way to help kids stay off the streets, said that he doesn’t let the racist barbs faze him.
“I ignore it,” he said. “It’s the kids I worry about. If they ever felt threatened, I would advise their parents to reach out to authorities.”
Read more at ABC News.