The national anthem protest against racial discrimination spread to Kenner, Louisiana, on Sept. 23, when almost all of the players on the Bonnabel High School football team refused to stand during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Most of the team kneeled during the anthem, which was shown in a photograph published by WVUE.
The protest movement began with a preseason NFL game on Aug. 26 with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world,” he explained after the first time he refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Following Kaepernick’s lead, various players for the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins have protested by either sitting or kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at their games.
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In addition to NFL players, other athletes protesting have included Megan Rapinoe, who plays for the Seattle Reign franchise of the National Women’s Soccer League, and Mara Green of the Florida State Seminoles volleyball team.
Jefferson Parish Public Schools Superintendent Isaac Joseph expressed surprise that the growing protest had reached one of his schools, but defended the players, saying, “They do have a right, and legally we do not have any right to punish or offer any sanctions against the team or team members.”
However, as a result of the kneeling Bonnabel players, some Jefferson Parish deputies are refusing to volunteer for extra detail shifts at Bonnabel High School football games. A week earlier, police officers in Florida threatened to boycott Miami Dolphins games.
Speaking on behalf of the Bonnabel deputies, Sheriff Newell Normand explained:
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My understanding is, we’ve had some officers that said they will not work the Bonnabel High football games. I understand why, in light of Colin Kaepernick's comments, specifically when he says, ‘Cops are getting paid leave for killing people.’ That's not right, that's not right by anyone's standards. The fact of the matter is we risk our lives each and every day for the safety and security of our constituency throughout this country.
But Normand went on to say there will be plenty of deputies who will volunteer to work the extra duty detail, reports NOLA.com.