As the NFL protests continue and teams and the association at large continue to argue about how to deal with players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and black oppression, school football players—across high schools and colleges alike—are also showing their solidarity and their own morality by choosing to take a knee.
In fact, one college football player payed a hefty price, losing his spot on the team for kneeling for his rights and for the rights of black people everywhere.
“At some point in life, there’s going to be a time when you’ve got to take a stand,” Gyree Durante told NBC 10 after he was removed from the team. “For me it just happened to be on Saturday afternoon.”
Durante is a sophomore at Albright College in Reading, Pa., and was also a backup quarterback for the team. Over the weekend, for the second game in a row, Durante chose to kneel during the playing of the national anthem and as a result was quickly cut from the team.
“I was just taught you fight for what you believe in and you don’t bow to anyone,” Durante said. “I believe heavily in this. So I decided to fight for it.”
Albright College told the news station that Durante lost his spot because he went against a unified decision that was made by the team. All the players had reportedly agreed to kneel during the coin toss before standing for the national anthem.
“This action, which was supported by the coaching staff, was created as an expression of team unity and out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences,” an Albright spokesperson told the station. “It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views.”
According to the spokesperson, this was decided on by the team’s leadership council, which comprises 24 student-athletes. The players also reportedly had an agreement that there would be consequences for those who chose not to fall in line with the rest of the team.
“One football player, who, unbeknownst to the coach and the team, chose not to support team unity and has been dismissed from the team,” the spokesperson wrote. “He remains a valued member of the Albright College student body.”
Right. That went over well.
NBC 10 spoke to two of Durante’s now-former teammates, and both echoed the spokesperson’s words. Stephen Glynn and Josh Powell told the news station that they understood what Durante was trying to do, but in doing so, he broke the team’s trust after agreeing to stand for the anthem and then later going back on his word.
“We trusted him throughout the week, after time and time again he told us he would stand,” Powell said. “When you can’t have a player on a team that you can trust, he’s got to go.”
Read more at NBC 10.