Nearly every player and coach on the Woodrow Wilson high school football team kneeled for the playing of the national anthem on Saturday, following head coach Preston Brown’s decision to do so.
After Brown told the team and his staff of his plans to protest his concerns over racial inequalities, Phil Anastasia of Philly.com reports, most of them chose to do the same.
“I still love America. I still love our military,” Brown said, according to Philly.com. “But this was our way of saying that things have to change in our country. There’s oppression, there’s social injustice, and these kids live it.”
According to NJ Advance Media, Edwin “Tank” Lopez, a Rutgers recruit, was one of the few that remained standing.
“It’s a free country. I can see where they were coming from,” he said, according to NJ.com. “The national anthem is just supporting the troops, the ones that passed. I just felt I should show respect for them and the country.”
The anthem protest, which began with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the NFL preseason, also spread to college football on Saturday. While the NFL is gearing up for more protests when the regular season begins on Sunday, the Seahawks announced plans to stand with their arms interlocked.