Seattle's entire Garfield High School Bulldogs football team — including both players and coaching staff — kneeled instead of stood during the national anthem during their season-opening game against West Seattle High this week.
The action was taken in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in recent weeks has received vociferous criticism for taking the knee during the anthem to protest racial oppression in the U.S., reported the South Seattle Emerald.
Photos and videos posted to Twitter showed the team followed through on the protest:
The Bulldogs defeated their opponents, the Newport Knights, 53-24.
Coach Joey Thomas said the idea came entirely from the student athletes.
"One thing we pride ourselves on is we have open and honest conversations about what is going on in this society," Thomas told Capitol Hill Seattle. "It led kids to talk about the social injustice they experience ... and it led to coaches to talk about what we go though. We're teaching life skills through sports."
"When athletes get in trouble, they say 'he should stand for something," Thomas added. "When athletes actually stand for something, people become hypocrites. People can't have it both ways."
"I'm so very proud that these young athletes have the courage of their conviction that many adult athletes have yet to show," Dustin Washington, Director of American Friends Service Committee's Community Justice Program, told the Emerald. "Friday should give us all hope that our youth are standing up for justice in the spirit of [Muhammad] Ali and many other conscious athletes."