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Virginia Tech Basketball Coach Buzz Williams Makes Players Stand At Attention For Anthem

Colin Kaepernick and many other players in the National Football League started to kneel instead of stand for the national anthem before games last year as a form of protest against institutionalized police violence in the US.

All of the players made it clear that this was not an anti-flag, anti-anthem or anti-America protest, but specifically a protest against police violence against minorities, and to bring attention to the recent outbreak of police shootings of unarmed people of color.

Of course, those who are criticizing the NFL players for kneeling are in the minority across the country as a whole, but they are constitutionally entitled to express their opinion just like the players have a constitutionally protected right to kneel during the national anthem.

Virginia Tech Coach Buzz Williams is an old-fashioned guy, and when he saw some of his players not standing during the national anthem, he decided to take the time to make it clear to his players that he felt that any kind of protest relating to the national anthem was inappropriate.

To make his point, Coach Williams decided to explain his personal belief about the connection between the national anthem and honoring the veterans who have fought to preserve American freedoms.

“We didn’t earn those chairs,” Coach Williams says as he points to the empty bench on the sideline of the court.

Williams goes on to tell his players about the sacrifices the servicemen and women in the military have made to protect the freedom of these young men to play basketball:

“Your talent didn’t earn those chairs. How tall you are and how fast you run, how well you shoot, didn’t earn those chairs. Me drawing up a play, me recruiting real hard, me working real hard, I didn’t earn the chair. These guys, when they were your age, interrupted their life. They paused their education. They changed their career. And they gave their life for those chairs.”

The coach finished his lecture with a stern warning: “…so when the anthem is played, we’re going to stand like grown men, and we’re going to honor men like this that gave their life so we can have a chair to sit in.”

Williams then tells the players that everyone will stand during the anthem with no exceptions. Moreover, all players will stand at attention as if they are saluting the flag during the anthem.

This is to help everyone to remember to not take their freedom for granted. He reminds the young men that we may be legally guaranteed personal freedoms in America, but many people in other countries are not so lucky.

He sums it all up in his conclusion: “And then the two-and-a-half minutes that the song is played, or somebody sings it, we’re going to stand at attention and honor these men. We’re not going to sway back and forth. We’re not messing with our shorts, we’re not messing with our jersey.”

Source: AWM
Photo: AWM

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