Writer and editor stand by original story about alleged planned protest by Brainerd High football team
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF) — A published report Friday morning caused quite a stir for the Brainerd High Football team.
It basically said the team was planning a protest during the National Anthem when they play against Marion County High Friday night.
“We’re focusing on positive behavior and intervention We’re focusing on academics in the school,” said Brainerd High Principal Uras Agee.
Unfortunately the focus shifted Friday morning to damage control after a published article stated the Brainerd High School football team would stage a protest in Marion County when they took on Marion County High School. According to the article, coach Brian Gwyn and each of the Panthers players were going to protest social injustice by standing for the National Anthem, bowing their heads and placing their closed right fists over their hearts.
Coach Gwyn is quoted as saying that’s the symbol of black power and that he thinks it’s a fitting way to make a statement about this issue in and do it in a way that they are all together.
Late Friday morning, Brainerd High Principal Uras Agee held a press conference to refute what was printed in the article.
“Our players did not plan it. There was no scheduled protest that was ever going to go on,” Agee said.
Coach Gwyn was conveniently not available during the press conference, but according to Principal Agee, Gwyn has denied that he would lead his team to stage a protest. So what happened?
“That’s a great question. I would love to know to,” Agee said.
The article’s writer stands by the original published report citing “notes from a lengthy interview and text messages with the coach.”
Neither the writer nor editor will speculate “why the coach may have changed his story.”
The Hamilton County school board has weighed in with a written statement which seemingly clears the players and principal of being a part of any protest..
Principal Agee said he’s launching an investigation into the matter. He also said he spoke to school leaders in Marion County to assure them there would be no protest.
News 12 spoke with Marion County School Superintendent Mark Griffith about his reaction to the article.
“There was a sense of concern to be quite honest with you, because I know how passionate we are here in the county about our country and our flag. So it automatically raised a safety concern,” Griffith said.
As a result of the safety concern, Marion County school leaders made sure there was extra security at the game.