As crowds prepared to kick off yet another night of high school football, fans at Tiger Stadium in Bay St. Louis rose to their feet for the National Anthem.
However, several players on the Pass Christian football team chose to kneel; joining protests by athletes across the country.
When Sea Coast Echo reporter Stacey Cato posted photos on Facebook, people quickly reacted.
“Now you got it, they want to protest then they should pay for their actions,” wrote Ron Pierce.
On another thread, Garrett Vincent wrote, “Anybody who kneels for the flag needs [a] reason maybe missing a leg. All y’all you wanna laugh the reason you get to laugh is because your freedom so take your laughs and kneeling to another country. Trump make America great again!”
While many people perceive kneeling to be a sign of blatant disrespect toward the United States military, the silent action began with former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick as a way to protest the oppression of people of color.
But since then, the action has seemingly divided the nation.
President Donald Trump called for a boycott of the NFL, something that resonated with many fans on the Coast. During a speech to supporters in Alabama, the president referred to a player as a “son of a bitch,” prompting NFL players across the league to join the silent protest.
WLOX News Now reached out to Pass Christian School District Superintendent Dr. Carla Evers, who released the following statement:
“Despite our efforts to avoid the scenario tonight by meeting with students and coaches, we had three students who chose to kneel, despite requests to stand.
Whereas we honor and understand that as Americans we have a constitutional right to peaceful protest, we do not feel that Friday Night Football is the appropriate place or time for such action. We would encourage parents to talk with their children about all that the protest represents and what our flag means to find more productive measures – for instance understanding the importance of voting and truthful dialogue with others. We would like to thank the fans and community members who stayed to honor the more than 100 students on the football team, band, cheer squad, and student section who honored our country.
As for the racial slurs, we must remember that these are children who are in many ways finding meaning in what has now become a national protest. Name calling will not help the situation, but dialogue will. As Pirates, we will rise above this as we and our city has done so many times before.”
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