Eight Players at Ole Miss Kneel During National AnthemBy David A.
Eight Ole Miss players on the men’s basketball team took a knee during Saturday’s playing of the national anthem prior to their home game versus Georgia in response to a nearby Confederacy rally.
Just prior to the start of the game, both teams lined up for the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner. At that time, six players for the Rebels knelt and two others knelt down during the final line of the song.
The game took place while a pair of pro-Confederacy groups prepared a march onto the school’s campus that is located in Oxford, Mississippi.
Breein Tyree, who leads Ole Miss in scoring, said following the game that most of what he and one other teammate did was they did not want the other six teammates to be alone and we all are tired of the hate groups coming to the school.
Several other on-campus student groups took part in counter protests Thursday and Friday. The march on Saturday, led by Hiwaymen and Confederate 901 also attracted several protesters.
The march started at the city-square Confederate monument and ended at the center of the Ole Miss campus at the site of another Confederate monument.
Rebels head coach Kermit Davis said he did not know of the players plans to kneel during the national anthem. Davis added that it was all about hate groups that came to the community and attempt to spread bigotry and racism. Davis continued by saying it has created a great deal of tension on the campus and the players took an emotional decision to express to the hate groups that they are not welcome on the Ole Miss campus.
While coaching at Middle Tennessee State prior to becoming the Ole Miss coach and when introduced as the Rebels coach, Davis said his teams did and would continue to respect the flag and national anthem.
The groups’ demonstration march ended during the second half of the game without any reports of violence.