Ole Miss basketball players kneel during national anthem to protest Confederate rally on campus
Eight Ole Miss basketball players dropped to a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the Rebels’ game against Georgia in Oxford, Mississippi on Saturday.
The decision to kneel was to protest a pro-Confederate rally at Oxford Square, less than a mile from The Pavilion, where the game took place. Nick Suss of the Clarion Ledger reported the protest-turned-march mobilized onto the Ole Miss campus.
“I was not (aware),” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said after the game when asked if he knew his players planned to kneel. “This was all about the hate groups that came to our community. It’s created a lot of tension. I think our players made an emotional decision. We respect our players decision to do that.”
Ole Miss junior guard Breein Tyree, one of the players who took a knee before the game, talked about about the decision after the Rebels’ 72-71 victory vs. the Bulldogs.
“We’re just tired of these hate groups coming to our school and portraying our campus like it’s our university [that’s] having these hate groups in our school,” said Tyree, who led Ole Miss with 17 points. “We saw one of our teammates doing it, and we didn’t want him to be alone.”
Kneeling during the national anthem became a contentious issue when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem on the sidelines in 2016. His stance in doing so was to protest racial inequality and police brutality.