It's been a hotly debated topic in sports since the NFL pre-season. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to choose not to stand for the National Anthem. Months later, looking at sidelines across the country, it's clear that he's not alone. Last week, the Red Raiders of Commerce chose to kneel as a team for the National Anthem on senior night against Putnam.
"It wasn't planned, it just happened. I wasn't told that we were going to take a knee that day, we just went back there, and we just said let's all take a knee, so we went out there and took that knee." said Junior Offensive Guard Johnny Moctezuma.
It's one of many teams sitting and kneeling, to protest social injustice of African Americans throughout the country. It has spread like wildfire and has been seen at all levels. Eight-year head coach Tyrone Mathis respects the decision his players made, but wants to make sure that it was one the players didn't take lightly.
"Do you know what you're doing? why you're doing it? what's the reasoning behind this? as you can imagine, you get spurts of information out of the kids, and they are not 100% sure why." said Mathis.
"We took a knee from what the captains told us was because of the shootings going on, and they feel like there is no justice, it's not fair right now." added Moctezuma.
Players decided to take a knee on their own at other points during the season, but there was something about senior night that brought this whole team, and their cheerleaders together.
"When we took that knee, we all just came together, and we thought about the things going on in America now." Moctezuma said.
In a season filled with some tough losses, the Red Raiders simply wanted to make a statement to their fans, coaches, and to themselves.
"Some people take a knee just to think about family members that have passed, so before the game we feel some type of anger, so that we can go out there and ball out." said Moctezuma.
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