Colin Kaepernick‘s national anthem protest against police violence inspired similar actions by athletes of all ages over the weekend.
While members of the Seattle Seahawks didn’t take knees or sit on the bench like cornerback Jeremy Lane did before a preseason game last week, they did link arms as an expression of racial unity before their home stadium match-up yesterday (September 11) against the Miami Dolphins. The Tacoma News Tribune reported that the team came up with the idea on Friday (September 9) after listening to sociologist Harry Edwards. The whole 53-person active roster joined arms, as did several members of the coaching staff, with plans for further actions and potential conversations with Seattle political leadership. "The African-American community, we’ve gone through a lot," said Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. "Not every police officer is a bad police officer. Not every African American is a bad person."
Four members of the Dolphins, who lost to the Seahawks 12-10, took knees during the national anthem. The Sun-Sentinel reported that Steve Ross, the Dolphins’ owner, stood by their protest, approaching safety Michael Thomas in the locker room after the game and saying, "Let’s get ready to do something about this" after shaking Thomas’ hand.
"I don’t think there was any lack of respect," said Ross, answering a reporter’s question about those the protest being unpatriotic. "These guys are really making a conversation [out of] something that’s a very important topic in this country, and I’m 100 percent supportive of them."
3 girls the West Virginia Tech volleyball team took a knee during the National Anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick pic.twitter.com/PXWLyqQQmq
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) September 9, 2016
The Seahawks and Dolphins players’ action came four days after three Black female volleyball players at West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) took a knee during the national anthem before a home game. "[Kap’s] exercising his right to choose to sit or stand, so you have to recognize that he’s got that right," participating player Keyonna Morrow, who also serves as vice president of the school’s Black Student Union, told WCHS TV.
Video of Woodrow Wilson players and coaches taking a knee for national anthem before Saturday’s game vs. Highland pic.twitter.com/JBhtaslq0i
— Philip Anastasia (@PhilAnastasia) September 10, 2016
On Saturday (September 10), all but two players from the football team for Camden, New Jersey’s Woodrow Wilson High School also took knees alongside coaching staff during the national anthem preceding their season opener. "I still love America. I still love our military," coach Preston Brown, who decided to do the protest while encouraging—not mandating—his players do the same, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "But this was our way of saying that things have to change in our country. There’s oppression, there’s social injustice, and these kids live it." Woodrow Wilson’s school district released a statement to the Inquirer saying that they stand by the students and coaches’ action and are "proud of their engagement with what is more broadly a very important social justice issue."