College coaches say they would ‘stand there proud’ for anthem
- Several college football coaches say unequivocally that they would stand for the National Anthem, even if their players were to protest.
- The issue has became a major point of controversy in the NFL, most recently stoked by President Trump's condemnation of players who sit or kneel for the Anthem before games.
Several college football coaches have weighed in on the anthem protests roiling the NFL, and some are resolutely declaring that they would remain standing for the Star-Spangled Banner.
Unlike the National Football League, college teams remain in the locker-room prior to the anthem, though several coaches have weighed in when asked to speculate on a hypothetical protest.
“What I would do is stand there proud. I think we have a great country,” University of North Carolina coach Larry Fedora remarked, according to The Herald Sun. “I think we’ve got a lot of problems in this country. I think we’ve had a lot of problems forever in this country. Everybody has a right; everybody has a right to protest whatever they want.”
Fedora went on to add that while his players could “choose to do it whenever they want,” he would encourage his players to “understand there are consequences to everybody’s actions.”
Similarly, University of Louisville coach Bobby Petrino explained that while he would leave the decision up to his players, he personally would respect the anthem.
“Everything that I picture when it comes to the national anthem is about somebody out there fighting for us and allowing me to have the freedom to be a football coach,” he elaborated, according to The Courier-Journal.
Washington State University coach Mike Leach, on the other hand, simply expressed confusion with what is even being protested.
“To me, it’s not very clear what’s even being protested. I’ve never heard a real clear articulation of what’s being protested or what’s objected to, so I don’t know exactly the issue,” he explained, though he added that he “personally” is “proud of this country” and “would stand for the national anthem and respect the flag.”
While SB Nation reports that many other coaches sidestepped the issue altogether, University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh came out strongly against President Trump’s harsh denunciation of the NFL protesters.
“No, I don’t agree with the president,” he said. “Listen, that’s ridiculous. Check the Constitution.”
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