NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Last week, most players on the Bonnabel High School football team took a knee during the national anthem as a protest against social injustice. But at Friday's game against Landry-Walker, the team struck a different note as players stood together with their arms linked in a show of unity. Just one player took a knee, and he did so right in front of a Jefferson Parish deputy.
The move by the players comes after several NFL players either sat, took a knee or made other demonstrations during the anthem.
In response to last week's protest, the Bonnabel Alumni Association pulled its funding for the team, saying the was "a despicable action by players, supported by the coaching staff." The association also cancelled a golf tournament where all of the proceeds were going to the school's athletic department. According to the Alumni Association, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes or FCA has suspended its relationship with the school.
Additionally, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said some of its deputies refused to provide detail security for the Bonnabel home games. Sheriff Newell Normand said some of his officers felt disrespected by the team's protest.
"The same way that the Bonnabel players have every right to kneel during the national anthem, my officers have every right not to volunteer to work the Bonnabel High School football game," Normand said.
But many others have come to the team's defense and even started a fundraising effort of their own.
"We are going to step in and we are going to reach out to partners and local stores," said supporter Daisy Overton Lagrue. "Some have already given monetary donations. We are going to do our best to provide whatever it is that they need."
Many parents we talked to said they felt that the reaction over the protest has been an overreaction.
"Whether they're right or they are wrong, no one has talked to them to find out what it is they're feeling, why they did it or why they didn't do it or whatever, and I think it was a missed opportunity to have a dialogue with the kids," said Nathashalena Holmes.
Another parent who did not want to go on camera said she didn't know that her son was going to protest last week, and she said she was very upset with him over the situation.