A college football player from Illinois stood on the sidelines by himself to honor the national anthem as it played before the game, while the rest of his teammates decided to protest the national anthem and remain in the locker room for the duration of the song.
On October 15, Connor Brewer, from Millikin University, was the only player on his team to stand for the national anthem to show support and loyalty towards both his football team and the playing of the national anthem.
The decision for the team came after several players chose to kneel during the national anthem at a football game on September 24.
The players made the decision to protest to follow Colin Kaepernick and his decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of oppression against black people and police brutality.
Brewer said that he will not speak to the media until he talks to both his football team and his coach.
The football team provided a statement regarding their decision to remain in the locker room until kick-off.
“Rather than have our message be misunderstood or misconstrued, we are united in our decision to stay in the locker room until kickoff during which time we will engage in a moment of reflection to personally recognize the sacrifice of so many and renew our commitment to living up to those most important words: ‘with liberty and justice for all,'” the statement published by the Herald-Review said. “Please let there be no doubt that we have the utmost respect for the sacrifice made by those who served or do serve in our armed forces, including many of our family and friends. Therefore, it is our desire to do nothing that could be viewed as disrespectful of their sacrifice.”
Millikin President Patrick White wrote in the same statement supporting the players decision to protest.
“The University supports the right of our students to voice their beliefs and support issues important to them; however, the impact of various responses received to this action caused many to lose sight of the critical issues facing our university and our nation,” White wrote. “We all need to listen to voices and opinions different from our own and listen with our hearts and minds awake to difference. When the issues involve race and justice and differing contentions of what patriotism mean, all of us can stand more education.”