Four football players from a Catholic high school in Michigan — including the starting quarterback who's a team captain — have been benched for Friday night's game after revealing they planned to take a knee during the national anthem, the Lansing State Journal reported.
How did the quarterback respond?
- Michael Lynn III, Lansing Catholic's starting quarterback, told the paper the decision felt like "oppression."
- "I get they are a private school and they can do what they want," Lynn III told the Journal. "They are right, they can. But that doesn’t make it humane, and that does not make it OK that they can do that because that still is my right to peaceful protest. Not only am I peaceful protesting, but I’m protesting as a primary source. I am a young black man in America. I’ve had to deal with certain things that other people will never have to deal with."
- “I said this in the meeting [with the school]," he added to the paper. "I said this feels like oppression. This feels like you’re trying to silence me and it feels like you’re not giving me the right to do what Americans should be able to do."
Who are the other benched players?
- Three other players who planned to kneel — Matthew Abdullah, Kabbash Richards and Roje Williams — also were told they'd be benched for Friday's game against Ionia, Lynn III told the Journal.
What did the coach say?
- Jim Ahern, head coach for Lansing Catholic, declined to comment to the paper.
What did the school say?
- Lansing Catholic President Tom Maloney declined any comment beyond a Thursday letter to parents, the Journal reported.
- The letter said, in part, "we will continue to hold our student-athletes to the expectation that they stand for our National Anthem," the paper said. "Any student-athlete who chooses not to stand will receive consequences. As always, this will be handled with Christian Charity, with the goal of growth in virtue.”
- The nature of the consequences wasn't made clear in the letter, the Journal said.
- But it did add that student safety is a concern and that "this sort of display could create an unsafe situation for any student involved.”