A high school football team in New Jersey is adding their team to the growing list of sports groups following the courageous lead of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick by protesting the national anthem to heighten awareness about continued police brutality against African-Americans.
Players from the Woodrow Wilson High School football team in Camden, along with several members of their coaching staff and others affiliated with the team, united in a powerful display of silent solidarity as each of them kneeled during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before their game on Saturday morning.
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
Head coach Preston Brown said the openly offensive third verse of the national anthem, which makes a reference to slavery, is something he's well aware of as a Black man.
"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," he told NBC Philadelphia.
Brown also revealed that he intended to take the knee alone during Saturday's game and just wanted to make his players aware of plans when he told them. To his surprise, many of the teen athletes joined him in protest.
Despite his decision to kneel, coach Brown made it clear that he loves America and the military.
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He also acknowledged that two students chose not to kneel alongside he and the others, but says he's proud of all of his players for exercising their right to stand for what they support.
"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."
It's an amazing feeling to witness our young people use their platforms to make an impact during such a trying time for our community. Salute to the young men of the Woodrow Wilson High School football team and their fearless head coach for doing their part to make a difference.