Politics has found its way onto the collegiate hard court as several members of the University of Mississippi basketball team opted to take part in a show of disrespect by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.
The eight Ole Miss players — the school’s team name is the Rebels — were reportedly showing solidarity with a group of protesters opposing a pro-Confederacy rally being held on campus in support of a Confederate statue.
Saturday’s rally followed a protest on Friday calling for the removal of the statue that has been on campus for over 100 years as a monument to Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War
The protest was organized by Students Against Social Injustice, according to WLOX. Another group, Students Over Monuments, took part as well.
— FlyingVRanch (@lettertomyheart) February 23, 2019
“The majority of it was just that we saw one of our teammates doing it and didn’t want him to be alone,” player Breein Tyree told the Associated Press. “We’re just tired of these hate groups coming to our school and portraying our campus like we have these hate groups in our actual school.”
That narrative was repeated by Mississippi head coach Kermit Davis, who supported the players’ antics — Davis said he was not aware that they were going to kneel.
“This was all about the hate groups that came to our community to try spread racism and bigotry,” Davis told reporters at a news conference. “It’s created a lot of tension for our campus. Our players made an emotional decision to show these people they’re not welcome on our campus, and we respect our players’ freedom and ability to choose that.”
Kermit Davis addressed the kneeling, as well. pic.twitter.com/Lk9zg2FsZ8
— Chris Kwiecinski (@OchoK_) February 23, 2019
That stance runs directly counter to what Davis said at his introduction as Ole Miss’s new head coach a year ago, The Daily Mississippian reported.
K.J. Buffen, Terence Davis, Breein Tyree, Bruce Stevens, Devontae Shuler and Luis Rodriguez took a knee during the national anthem today in the Pavilion. Head coach Kermit Davis has publicly voiced opposition to players protesting during the national anthem in the past.
— The Daily Mississippian (@thedm_news) February 23, 2019
“We’re going to be a team that respects the flag and the national anthem. All of those things from culture is what we’re about. It’s who we’re going to be,” Davis claimed at the time.
Having already seen this play out in the NFL, the reaction online was predictable.
While the America-hating hard left is quick to applaud any action that portrays the country in a bad light, average Americans are disgusted with the show of disrespect.
Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
If Kermit Davis doesn't hold true to his word and suspend every single one of those vermin for their disgraceful behavior in the pre-game then screw @OleMissBSB. It can rot right along with the worse than useless scumbags in the NFL.
— JonsThreeCents (@jonsthreecents) February 23, 2019
@beoliu can you tell those basketball players to stand up? No need in empty gestures now, you knew who OleMiss was when you signed to play there #nobodycares
— Get Ready (@hirolin69) February 23, 2019
I hope they get this figured out and school wont allow this or teams to start this. No need for politics in college sports.
— Jeremy Minton (@jeremyminton9) February 23, 2019
An absolute disgrace. I never like Ole Miss but I respected their basketball coach. No more. I would kick them off the team. I would have had them escorted out of gym prior to game.
— CSA Citizen (@Genealogy123) February 23, 2019
personally, i have only seen coverage of this pro-Confederate rally in Mississippi in the context of these Ole Miss player's protest. so for those who ask "what's the strategy in kneeling during anthem?" there's partly your answer — attention
— Astead (@AsteadWesley) February 23, 2019
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