High School Football Players Took the National Anthem Protest to a New Level

September 24th 2016

Thor Benson

Students from the Castlemont High School football team in Oakland, California, laid on the ground with their hands in the air during the national anthem on Friday night, and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was in attendance.

The students were participating in what's called a "die in," where people lay down as if they were dead. Their actions were meant to represent the black citizens who have been killed by the police. Kaepernick kneeled while the players laid down, continuing his protest that has gained national attention.

Last week, players from the team kneeled and raised their fists in the air in solidarity with Kaepernick, who has spent time with the Castlemont team and met them in the locker room before the game on Friday. According to SB Nation, he expressed words of support for their protest of the national anthem

You are important. You make a difference. This matters. Everything you do matters. Look out for one another, lift each other up. That’s what this is all about. I had to come support y’all, because the same way y’all took a stand and stood with me, I had to come out here and stand with y’all. So I appreciate what y’all did. I love y’all. Y’all my brothers -- I’m here with you.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in an August 27 interview with NFL.com. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick has been joined in his protest by other players in the NFL, including members of the Miami Dolphins.