High School Coach Pays Tribute To Kaepernick During National Anthem [VIDEO]

High School Coach Pays Tribute To Kaepernick During National Anthem [VIDEO]

Colin Kaepernick may have killed his professional football career, but his protest lives on. Kaepernick spawned huge controversy last season after refusing to stand for the National Anthem and also spawned multiple copycats. This season, the protests have died down to an extent, but the protests are still popular — even in high schools.

One New Jersey high school had a football game, but it wasn’t to be the typical Friday night game. Players from Woodrow Wilson Tigers, a school made up of mostly minority students, refused to stand for the anthem; instead, several players knelt. And the protest was encouraged by the head coach, Preston Brown.

Brown said that he originally planned to kneel alone as a protest. “I am well aware of the third verse of the national anthem which is not usually sung, and I know that the words of the song were not originally meant to include people like me,” Brown explained.

The third verse that Brown referenced mentions slavery. It reads, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”

Because of this, Brown felt that it was necessary to protest. “[Because] of recent events that happened the last couple years, things I experienced in college being an African-American student athlete in the south, I felt it was an appropriate time to do that,” he said. But still, he said that he wasn’t being unpatriotic. “I’m African-American, I wouldn’t rather be in any other country,” he continued. “But I can’t be oblivious to the things I see every day that are different four blocks away in a neighboring town.”

Brown said that he explained to his players what he was planning to do and several of them decided to kneel with him and join in the protest. “I grew up in poverty, a lot of these kids are growing up in poverty,” he said. “There’s a lot of social injustices and economic disparities. There’s issues right here in our own community.”

The Camden County School District responded by saying that they supported standing for the flag, but likewise supported the protest and stood behind the students’ decision. “Whether our students choose to stand, kneel, or otherwise, we’re proud of their engagement with what is more broadly a very important social justice issue,” Camden County School District spokesman Brendan Lowe said.

Not every player participated in the protest, although most of them did — just two chose to remain standing, a decision Brown said he supported. Brown said that each student had the right to “exercise what they thought was right.”

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