When the National Anthem played, college basketball players decided to kneel in protest. However, once the college president heard about the incident, the entire team wished they had chosen a different location to protest.
After players ignored a warning not to kneel during the National Anthem, the college president decided to take action.
For several games, Bluefield College men’s basketball players had decided to take a knee during the National Anthem instead of standing. After Bluefield College president David Olive caught wind of their organized protests, he told them to stop the spectacle or face the consequences.
Unfortunately, the players either didn’t take Olive seriously or felt that fighting against racial injustice by kneeling was more important than their athletic contributions. According to the New York Post, the team was preparing to play a rival team when Olive informed them that he was suspending multiple players who refused to stop kneeling, causing the entire team to forfeit the game.
Olive explained that he learned of the players’ kneeling several weeks prior and immediately told head coach Richard Morgan to tell them to stop. However, the players knelt again during the National Anthem the very next day, prompting Olive to consider the consequences.
Olive concluded that the location wasn’t an appropriate platform for protest and that the message the players were trying to relay would be lost on their audience. He expressed that it is their method and not their message that is causing further division instead of its intended conclusion.
Of course, the players were upset with Olive’s decision. Despite the president’s warning, player Jewels Gray claims that the administrators had told them prior to the season’s start that kneeling wouldn’t be a problem.“Why would our school contradict what they said?” Gray said. “We had meetings before the season with [the athletic director] and the president, and they stated that we can kneel and they’d support and be behind us, 100 percent.”
Although Gray admitted that the team has been restricted from speaking to the media, he still criticized the college administration and insisted that they gave conflicting messages. It is unclear whether there will be consequences for players making statements to the news.
Bluefield College president David Olive is sticking by his decision to not allow players to kneel during the National Anthem at college games. His reasoning is that they are representing the college as a whole as well as their fellow peers and community, and their method of protest is controversial and upsetting to many.There is a time and place for protesting. When you’re utilizing the platform that someone else has built, you’re at their mercy. Despite the good intentions these players have, their method hasn’t done a single thing to actually fight racial injustice. In fact, it’s only causing further division.
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