N.C. HS Players Plan to Kneel Prior to Anthem

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Copyright 2017 News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
All Rights Reserved

News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)


GREENSBORO — If you 're going to a high school football game tonight, don't expect to see many of the protests and unity gestures that were so prominent during the national anthem at NFL stadiums last weekend.

One exception will be the Page Pirates, who have decided to take a knee before the playing of " The Star-Spangled Banner" at their game at East Forsyth.

Page's coaches and players met Monday and talked about the issues involved, and the players voted Thursday to take a knee as a group before the anthem and stand with arms locked as a group during the playing of the anthem.

That's the approach the NFL's Dallas Cowboys took before their game Monday night at Arizona.

"We told them, 'Please have a reason and understand the reason you're doing it,' " Pirates coach Jared Rolfes said. "... My whole point is that we want to present as a unified group all the time in whatever we do."

One reason there likely won't be many protests in the area is that many high school football teams - like their college counterparts - are not on the field during the "Star-Spangled Banner" while their marching bands are performing. Even if their teams are on the field, coaches at other Guilford County schools said it would be business as usual just before games kick off tonight.

Grimsley coach Darryl Brown and Smith coach Brandon Wiggins said their teams had not discussed any protests and would "focus on the game," as Wiggins said. Northern Guilford's Erik Westberg said his team also had nothing planned as of Thursday, "but if they want to do something, we can figure it out."

Art Wade, athletics director at Dudley, said his football program did not discuss any protests during the anthem.

"Our coaching staff believes in the value of protest for injustice but doesn't feel high school football is the proper platform at this time," Wade said. "If the leaders of our football team decide they want to demonstrate for a worthy cause, we will sit down with our student-athletes and discuss their reasons for protest and devise a well-thought plan that will represent this school and community with dignity and respect."

Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034, and follow @JoeSireraNR on Twitter.

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September 29, 2017


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