For the most part, the debate surrounding the national anthem and protests has centered on the professional ranks and, especially, the NFL. However, one Division III football player has reportedly lost his spot on the team based solely on the decision to kneel.
Mark Schlabach of ESPN brings word that Albright College freshman Gyree Durante was cut immediately following his choice to kneel and, at this point, it has become national news. In short, Allbright College and its team’s “leadership council” had decided to have its players take a knee during the coin toss before standing back up for the anthem and a team spokesperson shared the following statement to that end.
“The football team made a team-wide decision to both kneel during the coin toss and stand during the national anthem. This action, which was supported by the coaching staff, was created as an expression of team unity and out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences. It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views.”
Apparently, Durante’s choice fell under “consequences for those who choose not to support the team” as the statement continued.
“The team agreed to uphold the council decision, with the understanding that there may be consequences for those who choose not to support the team. One football player, unbeknownst to the coach and the team, chose not to support the decision of the leadership council and team. He has been dismissed from the team but remains a valued member of the Albright College student body.”
It will be very interesting to see what kind of fallout comes from Durante’s stance and the team’s action after the fact. Because it happened at a lower level, overall buzz isn’t guaranteed but this could be a topic to monitor in the coming days.