Basketball Players Warned Not To Take A Knee Before Games, Now The School President Is Taking Action. Several Bluefield College athletes were suspended.
Several Bluefield College athletes were suspended, barred from commenting to the media, and forced to forfeit an upcoming game for engaging in a peaceful protest they say their school officials had previously shown their support for. The young athletes stated they made plans to kneel during the national anthem before all of their games to demonstrate
Some of the basketball players say they made these plans in the company of the African-American college’s athletic director, Tonya Walker, and Bluefield College president David Olive. According to the athletes present, both the president and the director of athletics have supported and approved this form of protest.
Athlete Jewels Gray was quoted as saying, “Why would our school go against what they said? “We had meetings before the season with the [athletic director] and the president, and they said we can take a knee, and they will support us and be behind us, 100 percent.”
According to Bluefield College President David Oliva, he discovered the problem with the athletes’ public display after they knelt during the national anthem at their first game.
He expressed his concern saying: “I have heard and understood the point of view of our players as to why they want to kneel during the national anthem. I also know that this form of protest prevents many individuals from hearing the intended message for their own sake perspective about the flag.
No individual’s honest motives are inherently wrong. But I continue to argue that we will not get where we want AND SHOULD get as a country in dealing with these racial issues without honest efforts to create pathways that bring people together for a common cause. After the first game, President David Olive implemented a “new rule” prohibiting school athletes from kneeling during the national anthem. After being informed of this sudden change in school policy, the basketball players decided to go ahead with their plans to kneel for the national anthem in their second game.
When President Olive was informed of the team’s decision, Richard Morgan, the head coach at Bluefield College, was tasked with issuing a warning to the students in question. Not to be deterred, the Bluefield College basketball team was later photographed kneeling and linking arms during the national anthem. In response to their disregard for his newly implemented rule, President Olive has suspended the entire basketball team.
After that, forcing their school to forfeit an NAIA game that was scheduled to be played against Reinhardt. He subsequently prohibited Bluefield College athletes from participating in any interviews or issuing press releases regarding the incident in question. Bluefield College President David Olive had this to say about his response;
“The basis for my decision came from my awareness of how kneeling is perceived by some in our country and I did not think that a number of our students, friends and donors to the College would see the act of kneeling during the national anthem. in a positive light”.