A college football player at Division III Albright College has been kicked off the team for protesting during the national anthem at the Lions’ Saturday game against Delaware Valley University.
A university spokeswoman confirmed to Philadelphia TV station WCAU that backup quarterback Gyree Durante was kicked off the team for going against a “unified team decision” not to protest during the anthem. Durante is still enrolled at Albright College.
The team reportedly decided to kneel during the coin toss of that game, and stand during the national anthem. Instead, for the second week in a row, Durante decided to kneel as a protest against social injustices and racism.
“At some point in life, there’s going to be a time when you’ve got to take a stand,” Durante told WCAU. “For me it just happened to be on Saturday afternoon.
“I was just taught you fight for what you believe in and you don’t bow to anyone,” he said. “I believe heavily in this. So I decided to fight for it.”
Some teammates told WCAU they understood the team’s decision to remove Durante from the roster.
“We trusted him throughout the week, after time and time again he told us he would stand,” freshman Josh Powell said. “When you can’t have a player on a team that you can trust, he’s got to go.”
Durante’s protest mirrors the demonstrations of NFL players who responded to President Donald Trump saying players who protest during the anthem should be fired. They in turn followed the example set by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling during the 2016 preseason to protest police brutality. It has become such an issue in the league that officials are considering a rule that would force players to stand during the anthem.
This is not the first time a player has been kicked off his football team for protesting during the anthem: Two high school football players in Texas were kicked off their team for demonstrating after their coach — a pastor and former Marine — asked them to find different avenues to protest.