Mara Green, a star player on the Florida State Seminoles volleyball team, is the latest athlete to join the growing protest movement started by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.
Green kneeled during the national anthem prior to the Sept. 14 match against the rival Florida Gators, reports WCTV.
The first non-NFL athlete to join the movement was Megan Rapinoe, a star player for the Seattle Reign franchise of the National Women’s Soccer League, who kneeled during the anthem prior to her team’s Sept. 4 game against Chicago.
It all began when Kaepernick sat on the bench during the traditional playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to the Aug. 26 game with the Green Bay Packers.
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Prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 1, he kneeled on the sideline during the anthem, along with fellow teammate Eric Reid. The same day, Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks protested by sitting while the song was played.
On Sept. 11, the protest spread further throughout the league, with players for the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, and Seattle Seahawks all protesting in various ways.
After joining the controversial protest, Green issued the following statement:
"I have had several family members that have served in the military and I have the highest respect of those who serve our country, I am unhappy with the racial tension, racial injustice and police brutality in our country. This is my way of silently and peacefully protesting my beliefs.”
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Her coach, Chris Poole, backed her up with a statement of his own:
"Mara made me aware of her intention to kneel for the national anthem. Florida State University is an institution of higher learning that recognizes a student’s right to freedom of expression. Similarly, I respect Mara’s right to freely express herself," he said, notes Black Sports Online.