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Tenn. GOP Senators blast ETSU president for student National Anthem protests

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capitol.tn.gov
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Republican lawmakers this week gave the President of East Tennessee State a tongue lashing after ETSU athletes took a knee during the National Anthem at a recent men’s basketball game.

The 15 minute scolding over the civil rights protest took place Wednesday as ETSU President Brian Noland made a budget presentation to the Senate Education Committee.

Bristol Republican Sen. Jon Lundberg chastised Nolan for allowing the protest. The Senator told Noland he viewed kneeling as the equivalent of giving “the bird to the flag.” 

Memphis Democratic Senator Raumesh Akbari voiced her support for the students. She told her GOP colleagues they shouldn’t be telling other people how to protest racial injustice.

Earlier this year, all 27 Republican State Senators sent a letter to several of Tennessee's public universities urging that administrators prevent similar protests in the future.

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