Last weekend, the University of Tulsa found itself the latest entity in the midst of the controversy that has been sweeping the nation since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the song in a preseason NFL game three weeks ago.
Prior to TU’s game at Ohio State University, as the football team concluded its group prayer and turned to honor America with the playing of the national anthem, junior cornerback Keanu Hill remained on one knee.
Though Hill did not deliver a statement to the media, the gesture mimicked Kaepernick’s, which was intended to bring attention to social injustice, particularly that which is directed at the African-American community in the form of apparent systemic racial bias in the police force.
In the weeks since Kaepernick took a knee, several other high-profile NFL players have knelt in solidarity with him, as well as U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe and a host of high school and college athletes around the country.
While many have accused these athletes of showing disrespect to America and its military troops and veterans, their supporters insist that the move is only an attempt to shine a light on major social issues and bring about change.
As of publication, neither the University of Tulsa nor Mr. Hill were available to deliver any remarks to The Collegian, but the school’s senior associate athletic director for communications did release a statement clarifying that although TU believes in “free expression and open discussion of differing perspectives and opinions,” Hill’s actions were in no way representative of the athletic department or school as a whole.