On the collegiate and high school sports level, things are a little different when it comes to peacefully protesting. After dozens of NFL players and teams protested statements made by the President during Sunday’s games, teams in the Triad have discussed what the movement means to them.
However, many high school and college teams do not come out of the locker room until the national anthem is over. Plus, many schools don't have specific policies about protesting the anthem. But for both - a show of protest is not considered an issue unless it becomes a major distraction.
In Guilford County, the main goal for the Page High School Pirates this season is making it to the State championship. Coaches are talking through every play, and every pass to get them there. But after the protests over the weekend, head coach Jared Rolfes says he's adding the topic to the conversation.
“We are not going to stop anybody from doing something in respect to what they feel is best for them. But our whole goal is to be unified as a group,” he said.
Most college football teams around the Triad are not usually on the field during the anthem - like NC A&T.
“We usually stay in the locker room during the anthem anyway. So, we don't have any issues with that. But I do believe in the First Amendment freedom of speech,” said head football coach Rod Broadway.
Winston-Salem State says as a higher learning institution, they agree with the first amendment. Wake Forest University says when it comes to athletics, they follow ACC protocol and take the field after the anthem.
On the high school level, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools do not have a protesting policy. Guilford County Schools says students can exercise their first amendment rights during games - if it's respectful, and not a distraction.
Back on the field at Page, Coach Rolfes is welcoming questions - hoping an open dialogue will strengthen and unite the team.
“I would anticipate some questions at practice or throughout the course of this week,” he said, “We encourage them to talk to us and talk to us about different things, talk to any coach on our staff that maybe has a different background or something they can relate to a little better.”
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