The PostScript

CC volleyball teammates kneel for the national anthem

Jerrica Thomas, Staff Writer

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Three members of the volleyball team began kneeling for their classmates at home games after a photo of three first-year CC students wearing charcoal facial masks surfaced online.

Jasmine Johnson, sophomore biology major; De’Andrea “Dee” Crosby, sophomore secondary education major; and Kara Anderson, senior writing for print and digital media major; knelt for the national anthem at their volleyball games Oct. 20 and Nov. 1. All three students are nationally ranked servers with Anderson as top server.

Anderson, team captain, suggested kneeling to her teammates. “[The] team spent a lot of time talking about it, especially after what happened,” Kellyann Stubblefied, director of athletics, said.

The team thought that it would be relevant to do something when more activity arose from the Black Lives Matters movement on campus, according to Johnson.

During the team discussion, teammates spoke about the generations of their family who served in the armed forces. They weren’t against kneeling to bring attention to Black Lives Matter. “They can’t just be vocal and expressive in that way,” Stubblefield said about kneeling for the anthem.  

Stubblefield explains that it’s a tough topic. “There are parents and fans who have given up a huge part of their life for their country and for that flag, so when they see someone kneeling they feel personally offended,” Stubblefield said.

The team wore black headbands at their next game. “At one of the games right after the photo surfaced, we all stood together during the national anthem with our right hand over our hearts and the left arm around the teammate who was standing next to us to also show unity,” Johnson said.

Other teammates felt it was important to kneel. “For me, the kneeling during the national anthem represents a peaceful way of saying that black lives do matter,” Johnson said. “Kneeling during the national anthem shows that the flag didn’t represent all ethnicities; and during this time, it’s still not standing for all ethnicities, especially black lives. So until that happens, kneeling is the best, peaceful way for me to protest.”

Johnson, Crosby and Anderson knelt at their home game on Oct. 25 against Bryan University and on Nov. 1 against Milligan College.

Parents, fans and students are focusing more on the mere act of kneeling for the anthem, instead of asking why people have knelt in the first place. The athletes kneeling have also been personally offended by the treatment they receive on a daily basis as an African-American, according to Stubblefield.

Johnson intends to keep kneeling at games. “The kneeling represents that, as an African-American female, the American flag didn’t support my ancestors,”Johnson said. At the time of the flag’s creation, African-Americans were then slaves, not citizens.

The teammates had full support from Coach Chuck Mullen and Stubblefield on their decision to protest.

“I truly believe that each of these women are true Americans, very respectful people and they aren’t trying to be disrespectful to the flag,” Stubblefield said.

Since August, more athletes have begun to kneel during the national anthem at games across the nation.

The protests began when San Francisco ‘49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick  sat during the national anthem at preseason games on Aug. 14 and 20, as reported by Mark Sandritter of SBS Nation.  Initially, Kaepernick was alone and unnoticed in his protest.

Through September, other teammates and football players from other teams began to kneel or sit for the anthem to bring attention to oppressed people of color, according to Sandritter.

Megan Rapinoe, soccer player for the United States women’s soccer team, knelt at a game against Thailand, according to The New York Daily News. Rapinoe took a knee at the games on Sept. 4 and  Sept. 7, as reported by Graham Hays of ESPN.

The last scheduled game of the volleyball season was Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m. against Milligan College. The Koalas won  3-2.

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Jerrica Thomas, staff writer

Jerrica Thomas is a junior public relations major with a minor in Spanish. Thomas has worked on The PostScript staff for three semesters. She enjoys listening...

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CC volleyball teammates kneel for the national anthem