The Brebeuf Jesuit (Indianapolis) girls soccer team had little trouble maintaining its Class 2A No. 1 state ranking Wednesday night.
The Braves beat Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.) handily, getting three goals in the first 15 minutes on the way to a 5-1 victory.
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, Terence Crutcher, 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.”
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.
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.
“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 on, then I think there’s a bigger problem than that.”