College students join Kaepernick

College+students+join+Kaepernick

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Mike Finnegan

Among the college athletes who joined the protest this past weekend are eight players from the University of Michigan and three players from Michigan State University. All eleven players raised their fists in the air, rather than sit or kneel, just before the start of the game.

“That’s your choice, and it’s influenced by what you’ve experienced in this world,” said Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio to mlive.com as he recalled what he told to his players before the game. “So whether someone salutes, puts their hand over their heart or does something else, 
everybody has a choice to make.”

In addition to the players around the NCAA joining the protest, student spectators at the sporting events have begun to join in. After Eastern Michigan University had graffiti of racial slurs painted on their campus earlier in the week, a large group of students all wearing black shirts began protesting at their school’s football game on Friday. While the national anthem was played before the football team was out on the field, due to university officials citing safety concerns, the group of students stood with fists raised throughout 
the anthem.

In culmination of the protest, after chanting, “we stand up, we fight back, when black lives are under attack,” the Eastern Michigan students marched onto the field at the end of the game to gather at center field for a Black Power salute.

A similar student protest took place at UNC on Saturday with as many as 75 black and white students, all wearing black shirts, sitting with fists raised in the air during the playing of the national anthem.

Just prior to the new protests this weekend, President Barack Obama invited Tommie Smith and John Carlos to speak with him at the White House. Smith and Carlos are the 1968 Olympians that held the Black Power salute on the podium in Mexico City 48 years ago.