High School Football Players Suspended For Kneeling Are Reinstated

    Seems like the Western Line School District in Greenville, Mississippi has succumbed to or been enlightened by (however you want to politicize it) a strong legal defense and social media pressures. They’ve re-evaluated their suspension of four O’Bannon High School African-American players for kneeling during the anthem two weeks ago. 

    In fact, today coach Charles Moore said it was just one player who was suspended and it was for reasons that have nothing to do with kneeling during the anthem.

    Dad Hat Wearer on Twitter

    School administration sounds surprised this news “made it out” of the Delta in the age of internet access. https://t.co/oWQfvF9Say

    “No players were suspended for kneeling during the national anthem, Moore said. We did suspend one player for something he did while kneeling for the national anthem.

    Green has said that those players are now back on the team and that it appeared to be the case that they were suspended for kneeling. He went on to say he did not have all the information at the time.

    The players should never have been suspended in the first place. Regardless of their reinstatement, the message has already permeated their mental and the reality of how easily they were briefly silenced and outcasted for their beliefs will last forever. 

    As African-Americans continue to have their basic human rights impeached by oppressive power brokers, this internal racial struggle emerging in our country that began with one NFL players respectful kneeling of the anthem to bring social awareness to senseless police brutality and social, educational and economic oppression, has now turned into an obsession with silencing any person of color of any age who chooses to express themselves. 

    Shaun King on Twitter

    Four players on this Mississippi football high school football team have been kicked off for taking a knee. @ACLU https://t.co/AxkZRCBIPg

    The national anthem has become the tool of submission in this psychological warfare against people of color that has engulfed our nation. 

    Keeping in tune with Donald Trumps suggestion to the sports world to fire anyone not standing for the national anthem, the Western Line School District declared a “Don’t stand, don’t play” edict to the O’Bannon High School football team in Greenville, Mississippi after four players took a knee during the national anthem prior to a game against Coahoma County. 

    The school district proudly suspended the four African-American players indefinitely from the team. Western Line Superintendent Larry Green, who has since changed his tune dramatically,  said what the players did goes against an “unwritten” rule. 

    “We talked to the administration, coaching staff and parents and they are in agreement it should not have happened,” said Green when the players were first suspended. “We think the punishment is adequate for what happened. Maybe they can come back before the season is over. We haven’t closed the door. We just want them to understand the value to respect our country and flag.”

    Social media was a whirlwind of contrasting opinions swaying erratically to the far rights and lefts of the issue. 

    ” s ” on Twitter

    @StarlitNovember @ShaunKing @ACLU That’s awesome! Glad the school she attends doesn’t allow people to disrespect the country they live in. Good work by the school

    But overall, people weren’t feeling it. 

    State Senator Derrick Simmons released a statement blasting the suspensions. 

    “I am totally outraged that these students have been suspended for exercising their right to peacefully protest their beliefs and make a statement through a gesture that has long been practiced in many sports across this country.

    I am appalled that these teenagers who give so much of themselves to entertain us by playing football and achieving their dreams have been violated by school administrators who apparently agree with the racist mentality of our president, who created this issue for reasons unknown and has so little respect for certain segments of our country that he publicly called a black athlete a son of a .., and suggested that black players who kneel for the anthem be fired from the team.

    These young boys were suspended for supposedly violating an unwritten policy.

    This is truly shameful behavior on behalf of public school officials.”

    Many Twitter heads felt the same way. 

    irela on Twitter

    @Slaystro @StarlitNovember @ShaunKing @ACLU The Supreme Court also ruled that students are not obliged to stand for the national anthem. They violated the law.

    Brunomolly on Twitter

    @ShaunKing @Tenggareesje @ACLU These are the very kids who are @ the epicenter of the reason for the protest. They are the ones most likely to be shot by cops haphazardly

    Its pretty much safe to say that Colin Kaepernicks message has been lost and is now being used as a weapon against people of color who wish to peacefully express their outrage with the direction of our country. 

    We are seeing, especially in certain Southern pockets of the United States, that a focus on preserving the vile notion of confederacy ideology and symbols and turning back the clock to try and suppress and control intelligent kids of color who are now dangerous threats to their preferred way of living is a blatant strategy. 

    Labeling kids who choose to kneel for the anthem as unpatriotic miscreants is dirty pool and one of the oldest games in the book. To go along with the labels of “thug,” “criminal,” “drug dealer” and “dead beat dad”, Trumps promise to Make America Great Again begins to take frightening shape throughout our country. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.