NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The national debate over racial inequality in America landed in the Capital Region Thursday night.
A few players from the Niskayuna High School Silver Warriors football team were already on one knee as the national anthem began playing Thursday night. But then, before the game against Guilderland, another player joined his teammates by dropping down on one knee.
It was a small group protest much like the national debate going on in Washington over NFL teams taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in America. The players were joined by a lone cheerleader.
The players immediately took to the field for the game.
In the stands, the mother of a player who stood was draped in the flag and sides with her son.
“I think it’s disrespectful to men and women who fight for our country and have fought,” Maria Dean said. “I’m looking at it like that – as disrespect to the flag and America.”
While there was some protesting on social media, the players took their knee, the crowd cheered, and some parents gave them their full support.
“Absolutely,” Jim Gilbert said. “Racism in this country is not going away. We need to take a stand, and if people are becoming more aware because NFL players are doing it or high school players are doing it, maybe we can’t sweep it under the rug anymore. And it needs to be out there.”
At final count, six football players and one cheerleader took a knee during the national anthem.
While word of the protest got out on social media before the game, it appeared as if some of the fans didn’t even realize it was happening, so the applause at the end may simply have been part of the game routine.