As expected, the Watkins Mill football team took a knee during Friday night’s national anthem before the team’s loss at Damascus. The players moved forward with their stated plan to kneel despite threats made to their principal, with the student athletes themselves adamant they are taking a stand in the right arena.
“I think it’s a great place to have the discussion,” Watkins Mill senior Brian McNeary told the Washington Post at a Thursday practice. “Because football is America’s sport. If football players do it, it’s the best way to draw attention.”
Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, Md., had previously held a pep rally Friday, hours before many of its players kneeled during the national anthem at the game against Damascus.
But the principal has been getting threats by the dozens, the latest is that players’ tires will be slashed. The team remained undaunted.
“Most of the threats are coming from adults and I feel like that’s childish of them, to be honest,” McNeary said. “I think we’re doing a good job of remaining calm and dealing with it and we’re working through it together.”
This is the second time Watkins Mill students have kneeled during a game.
Last week, they did the same against Gaithersburg.
- Maury High in Virginia was among the first schools with players taking a knee last week. About half the Maury players took a knee before Friday night’s game.
- Garfield High in Seattle took a knee en masse, agreeing as a team to drop to a knee and place a hand on the back of the player next to them during the anthem. “Everybody wants to talk about how this is disrespectful to the American flag,” Garfield coach Joey Thomas told The Seattle Times. “That’s a smokescreen. How about we talk about the issues people are kneeling and fighting for? If we could start addressing the issues and finding solutions to the issues, we won’t have to kneel.”