Since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem in 2016, the ripple effect of his action has trickled to all levels of football.
One football team at a school in suburban Washington, D.C., is taking its own stand by taking a knee together.
As NBC News reports, players at Capital Christian Academy (Lanham, Md.) approached their coach in late August about protesting before games this year. Coach Cornell Wade pulled up a chair from behind the teacher’s desk in a classroom at the all-black school.
Per NBC News, this was the coach’s response:
“I hope you all know why,” Wade told his players. He wasn’t opposed, but he asked them to think hard: Are you doing this because you idolize the pro football players on TV? Or because the message behind the protest actually means something to you?
The boys were quiet. Then, one of the seniors spoke up.
“We’re taking a knee because of inequality as a whole,” said Josiah Gill, 17. “We’re aware of what’s going on in this country as young black males.”
“A lot of people love football,” Gill added. “You have them coming from places to see you do something, and why not take a knee, why not do this to show we see what’s going on in the world?”
Kaepernick’s protest brought added attention to racial injustice and police brutality and bias, and is still a hot-button issue within the NFL.
At the high school level, it is a different conversation that does not have to do with billionaire owners or a franchise’s bottom line. It is about kids in a community confronting the country’s issues in their own way.
Football players at the school, which opened in 2013, decided to stage their protests, kneeling as one entire group before each game. And their coach has supported it fully.
“If you’re going to be with the fight,” Wade told NBC News, “be with the fight.”
You can read the entire NBC News story here.