Soccer

Brebeuf Jesuit player kneels during national anthem

Brebeuf Jesuit goalkeeper Lauren Turner kneels during the national anthem before a game against Center Grove.

Brebeuf Jesuit goalkeeper Lauren Turner kneels during the national anthem before a game against Center Grove.

Brebeuf Jesuit’s girls soccer team had little trouble maintaining its Class 2A No. 1 state ranking Wednesday night.

The Braves (11-1-1) beat Center Grove (7-2-1) handily, getting three goals in the first 15 minutes on the way to a 5-1 victory. Junior Kayla Fitts had two goals and an assist.

Before the game, Brebeuf  senior Lauren Turner dropped to one knee during the national anthem  — easy to spot in her light-blue goalkeeper’s jersey — in silent protest of racial injustices across the country. Her teammates stood in a line with hands on the shoulder of the player in front of her.

“The reason behind (kneeling) was the shooting in Oklahoma that happened two days ago,” Turner said, referring to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American  man in Tulsa. “I’ve always just been interested in how blacks have been treated throughout history and I think it’s just important for everybody to realize what’s actually going on.”

Entire Indiana Fever roster kneels for national anthem

As she knelt, some spectators in the stands quietly disapproved, shaking their heads or muttering words like “stupid” and “disrespectful” under their breath.

Turner explained that calling attention to injustices is something she feels is even more important in an environment she said was “sheltered.”

“I was talking to some of my teammates before (the game) and they didn’t know anything about the (Oklahoma) shooting,” Turner said. “It needs to be talked about because this cannot continue to happen and it’s really frustrating, honestly.”

Brebeuf coach Angela Berry White said Turner told her about her plans to kneel ahead of time and supported her decision, which she added aligns with the school’s general stance on student “self-expression.”

“She was more than welcome to express herself,” Berry White said.

Twitter reacts to Indiana Fever’s national anthem protest

Turner’s silent protest occurred on the  same night the entire Indiana Fever roster  took a knee — along with two Phoenix Mercury players —  during the national anthem prior to their  playoff game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The trend, which began last month by  San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, has spread quickly.

One high school football player in Massachusetts was  suspended for kneeling during the anthem earlier this month — only to have his suspension lifted after the school deemed the student “did not violate any school rule” during his silent protest.

“At the end of the day, it’s just an opinion and everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” Turner said. “But I mean, if you can look at me in the face and tell me there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing really going, then I think there’s a bigger problem than that.”

Follow IndyStar reporter Jordan J. Wilson on Twitter: @Wilsonable07. Email him at jordan.wilson@indystar.com.

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