“We stand with our hand above our chest.”
Kevin Willard did not waver when asked if Seton Hall men’s basketball team will take part in any protests during the National Anthem once the season starts.
The coach stood with his hand over his heart, and repeated, “We stand with our hand above our chest.”
The question stemmed from the actions of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has stirred controversy with his practice of taking a knee during the National Anthem. The football player has sparked movements across the nation, as athletes and teams at various levels have followed suit, protesting the Anthem in one way or another. Even a few Anthem singers have protested as they sang at sporting events.
The movement has transferred to collegiate sports as well, with teams using their own methods to show their stance. Football players from Michigan and Michigan State have stood with fists raised.
Even some fans of college teams have started to partake in the protest, as University of North Carolina football spectators and the band put their fists up in protest during a Sept. 24 game.
With basketball season approaching, college basketball players will be in the spotlight as the Anthem is played. Junior Desi Rodriguez said that Seton Hall has not specifically discussed any form of action they could take.
“No, we never talked about that,” Rodriguez said. “We just talk about what’s going on in society and just with the debate, and stuff like that, that’s things we talk about in the locker room. But we never talked about taking a knee in the game.”
While Rodriguez does not want to take a knee, he believes there are other ways to send a message on the protested issues.
In the NBA, some teams and players have linked arms. Rodriguez said that could be something the team thinks about. He is not going against what Willard said. He agreed that the team will not partake in protests, but said there is a chance for the team to show its unity.
“Maybe we can do something like that, that’s more appropriate,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think taking a knee is appropriate, so definitely holding arms, doing something that shows that we are trying to make a change.”
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