Players from the Capital Christian Academy come together in solidarity before the start of a game.
LANHAM, Md. — Football practice had ended early at Capital Christian Academy, a small all-black private school in suburban Washington, and the team’s leaders decided it was time to talk to their new coach. It was late August, and the first game of the season was just three days away.
The players had something to say: They wanted to take a knee.
Coach Cornell Wade pulled up a chair from behind the teacher’s desk in a classroom. He didn’t flinch. “I hope you all know why,” he told his players. He wasn’t opposed, but he asked them to think hard: Are you doing this because you idolize the pro football players on TV? Or because the message behind the protest actually means something to you?
The boys were quiet. Then, one of the seniors spoke up.
“We’re taking a knee because of inequality as a whole,” said Josiah Gill, 17. “We’re aware of what’s going on in this country as young black males.”
“A lot of people love football,” Gill added. “You have them coming from places to see you do something, and why not take a knee, why not do this to show we see what’s going on in the world?”
Like many high school football players across the country, Gill and his teammates had closely followed the debate over NFL players who protest during the national anthem, a movement that began with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling in 2016 to highlight racial injustice and police bias.
As the league and team owners hash out how to penalize those players who are still protesting, a handful of high schools around the country have confronted the issue as well.
Via: NBC News