An entire Seattle high school football team knelt during the national anthem before their Friday-night football game.
Players from Garfield High—including players of different races as well as the coaches—said that they took a knee to protest “social injustices.”
According to Q13 Fox, Garfield High School head football coach Joey Thomas said that the players decided to take the action to bring attention to social injustices, emphasizing that it was a player-driven move. Thomas also noted that his players plan to continue the practice during the anthem before every game “until they tell us to stop.”
About four or five players on the West Seattle High School team—which Garfield beat—also knelt during the anthem.
Seattle Public Schools issued the following statement: “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.”
“I would’ve done the same thing,” said Jermaine Smith, who was in the stands, to Komo News. “It’s tough out here for young black men, and everyone’s starting to take notice.”
The recent public protests during the national anthem at sports events began a couple of weeks ago when San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Since then, several individuals in sports have done the same, in what is now being termed “the Kaepernick effect.”