Several Ole Miss players kneeled during the national anthem before facing Georgia on Saturday.
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes offered his support to Ole Miss on Tuesday after several players kneeled during the national anthem prior to the Rebels' matchup with Georgia on Feb. 23. Ole Miss opted to kneel after a confederate rally in Oxford, Miss. ended on the school's campus on Saturday.
“I really admire and understand those young men because one thing they made clear is they had no intention of disrespecting the American flag,” Barnes told the media on Tuesday. “It was all about the fact that the hate crime that they felt like that had to demonstrate. I admire them for that."
“That shouldn’t be anywhere. I think the way their administration and Kermit handled that is terrific. I think the fact they were willing to stand up for what they believe, we all should believe actually is a good thing.”
Barnes and the Volunteers face Ole Miss on Wednesday at The Pavilion in Oxford. Tennessee is third in the SEC at 24–3, 12–2 conference. Barnes' squad lost two of its last three matchups with losses at LSU on Feb. 23 and at Kentucky on Feb. 16.
Ole Miss is fifth in the SEC at 19–8, 9–5 SEC. The Rebels have missed the NCAA tournament in each of the last three seasons.