PULLMAN, Wash. – After NFL teams across the country made headlines for kneeling in protest during the national anthem, the Washington State University football team had varying opinions on the issue.
Head coach Mike Leach said he was unclear on what the players were protesting.
“I haven’t gotten a real clear articulation of what’s being protested or what’s being objected to,” he said.
NFL players have said they are protesting racial injustice in the United States. The Seattle Seahawks, who skipped the anthem on Sunday, issued a statement that said they were doing so out of “love for our country,” and they are united to “oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms.”
“Me personally I'm proud of this county,” Leach went on to say. “And I would stand for the National Anthem and respect the flag. With that said I don't know what they're objecting to and I'm anxious to what specifically it might be.”
Leach has previously said he does believe in peaceful protests.
The players seemed at odds as well.
“Those guys are standing up for what they believe in and they should have the right to do that,” Isaac Dotson, a redshirt junior linebacker said. “I can't say I quite agree with what the President said and you're seeing the backlash of what he had to say.”
“I agree with their protest and everything they're doing right there,” Jamal Morrow, a redshirt senior running back said. “They have the right to. You're entitled to your own opinion.”
“I have the flag on my shoulder. I have it tattooed so that pretty much explains that question,” Cole Madison, a freshman offensive lineman said. “People have their voice and opinions, but I'd never do anything like that.”
Here is what the players and Mike Leach had to say about the NFL protests on Sunday (put them in order they came to podium): pic.twitter.com/i1oAo1cNvD— Evan Closky (@KREMEvan) September 25, 2017
It is worth noting that college football players do not come out during the national anthem, and typically stay in the locker rooms. It is not unusual for them to barely hear the national anthem before the game.