An entire high school football team in San Francisco decided to take a knee for the playing of the national anthem and intends to continue throughout the season, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Mission High is believed to be the first high school team to take a knee en masse after individual players have taken a knee on teams across the country in the last week.
Being based in San Francisco, the team has had a front row seat to the movement spurred by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Among the core values in the school’s mission statement is “we serve the needs of individuals and the interests of a diverse community.” That diversity is reflected in a football team made of white, African-American, Latino and Asian players.
Coach Greg Hill, who is an African-American, decided to stand while his players took a knee.
“I decided I’d stand for them,” he told the Chronicle. “I’m gonna stand for my team.”
The decision to kneel was broached by team captain Niamey Harris and the other captains. They said they intended to kneel and asked their teammates to join them.
Harris said the captains said, “This is for helping everybody else in the world to understand that black people and people of color are going through difficulties and they need help. It’s not going to take care of itself.”
Harris, who is an African-American, lives a few blocks from where city police officers killed Mario Woods in December, sparking protests throughout the city of San Francisco and a Justice Department review.