by Josh Ford | 24News
President David Olive of Bluefield College received news that the school’s basketball players continued to kneel during the National Anthem despite him telling them to stop immediately or face consequences.
Some players continued to kneel as they reportedly believe it’s their way to take a stand against racial injustice.
However, Olive shot back that the protesting reflects poorly on the Virginia school. He informed the team that he is suspending multiple players who refused to stop kneeling.
“The basis for my decision stemmed from my own awareness of how kneeling is perceived by some in our country, and I did not think a number of our alumni, friends, and donors of the College would view the act of kneeling during the anthem in a positive way,” Olive said in a statement.
“I have heard, and I understand the perspective of our players as to why they desire to kneel during the National Anthem. I also know this form of protest immediately shuts down a number of individuals from listening to the intended message because of their perspective regarding the flag. No individual’s sincere motives are inherently wrong.”
“But I continue to contend that we will not get to where we want AND NEED to get as a country in addressing these racial issues without making honest attempts at creating pathways that bring people together for a common cause.”
According to one source, the team was about to play a rival team when Olive let them know that he was suspending multiple players who refused to stop kneeling, which resulted in a forfeit of the game.
“As I conveyed this to VP Walker and Coach Morgan, I denoted that anytime a student athlete puts on a jersey that says ‘Bluefield College’ on it, the message is no longer just the student athlete’s message but that it becomes the message of Bluefield College. Pointing to the already fractured and divided nature of our country, I did not want Bluefield College contributing to the further divide; rather, I wanted the College to bring people together in a united effort to address issues of racial injustice,” he said.
Of course, the players were upset with Olive’s decision. Despite the president’s warning, player Jewels Gray claims that the administrators had told them prior to the season’s start that kneeling wouldn’t be a problem.
“Why would our school contradict what they said?” Gray said. “We had meetings before the season with [the athletic director] and the president, and they stated that we can kneel and they’d support and be behind us, 100 percent.”
Although Gray admitted that the team has been restricted from speaking to the media, he still criticized the college administration and insisted that they gave conflicting messages. It is unclear whether there will be consequences for players making statements to the news.
Bluefield College president David Olive is sticking by his decision to not allow players to kneel during the National Anthem at college games. His reasoning is that they are representing the college as a whole as well as their fellow peers and community, and their method of protest is controversial and upsetting to many.
There is a time and place for protesting. When you’re utilizing the platform that someone else has built, you’re at their mercy. Despite the good intentions these players have, their method hasn’t done a single thing to actually fight racial injustice. In fact, it’s only causing further division.