High school coaches discuss taking a knee during national anthem

High school coaches discuss taking a knee during national anthem

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The controversial issue of taking a knee during the United States' national anthem has coaches at the high school level discussing the act with players.

"What I'm telling my kids is respect for ourselves, respect for each other," Edna Karr High School head football coach Brice Brown said. "But we're not trying to turn the other cheek by any means necessary with the movement that's going on."

"I have spoken with them in regards to the issue, but I don't think any of them will take a knee or sit," Landry Walker High School head football coach Emanuel Powell said.

The two teams faced off Friday night in Algiers, and all of the players from both squads stood during the entire singing of the "Star Spangled Banner."

But both coaches did not agree on what they expect from the young men on their team.

"I think it's to whom his own. I respect each and everybody's right," Powell said. "It would be one of those kids' right if they chose to, so no, I wouldn't punish them."

"We are about to play a high school football game out here," Brown said. "That freedom that we express by playing this game, we can at least show and honor them by standing for the flag."

Following Colin Kaepernicks taking of a knee during the national anthem last month, three other NFL players have followed suit: Kaepernick's fellow San Francisco 49er and former LSU standout Eric Reid; former Northwestern State University in Natchitoches standout Jeremy Lane, who now plays for the Seattle Seahawks; and Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall all protested what they say is social injustice in the United States.

"I'm not against the military, the police or America at all," Marshall said after his game Thursday. "I'm against social injustice, and I feel like this was the right thing to do. This was the right platform, and this is our only platform to be heard."

In fact, none of the players where FOX 8 crews were filming Friday took a knee or sat during the national anthem. But one man, Jamar Travis, knelt in the stands during the pregame ceremony at the Ben Franklin and Country Day football game.

"When it's an issue like this that is ongoing, then why not take a knee because I don't feel like this country represents me all the time," Travis said. "If we live in this country, it should represent us all the time and it doesn't."

But many people disagree with the demonstration.

"Be lucky that we have these rights to not stand up, but I think it's disrespectful. They do have the right I think though. I don't like them," spectator Katherine Parsons said.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said players and staff have a policy when it comes to their actions during the national anthem. FOX 8 contacted the organization to find out what that policy entails, but we have not heard back.

The Seattle Seahawks organization says its team and crowd will be involved in a demonstration of unity before the game Sunday at Century Link Field.

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