ETSU sees angry reaction after athletes kneel during anthem ahead of basketball game

Feb 22, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  East Tennessee State University received strong pushback last week after the men’s basketball team knelt during the National Anthem ahead of a game.

WJHL has quoted Johnson City Republican State Rep. Rusty Crowe saying “This kind of activity will not be tolerated.” Jonesborough GOP Rep. Rebecca Alexander warned the university would likely lose donations.

Newsweek quoted ETSU men’s basketball Coach Jason Shay defending his players, saying he hoped the controversy would “spark a conversation about racial justice and inequality.”

Kneeling during the playing of the U.S. National Anthem has been widely used since 2016 by African-American athletes and their supporters as a means of protesting civil rights concerns in general, and police brutality in particular.

Detractors say the protests are disrespectful to the flag and to the service members who have died securing the nation’s freedoms.