Two more Albright College players have been dismissed from the team for violating a team decision regarding kneeling before the national anthem.
Dr. Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Albright’s president, said Friday that the two other players have been kicked off the team because they didn’t go along with the team’s decision to kneel during the coin toss before the homecoming game against Delaware Valley at Shirk Stadium.The two players did not fully kneel, Fetrow said in a statement to the Albright community Friday.The two Albright players were not identified. Attempts to contact the players weren’t immediately successful.Earlier this week, Albright’s backup quarterback Gyree Durante was dismissed from the team for going against a team decision by refusing to stand for the national anthem. Durante knelt during the anthem.Before the game, Albright players had decided to demonstrate unity by kneeling together during the coin toss and then standing together for the anthem, the college said.In the future, Fetrow said that coaches will support players on whatever decision they make regarding standing – or kneeling – during the national anthem before games.While Fetrow said the dismissal of the players was consistent with existing policies and practices, they are not fully aligned with our core values.In addition, going forward, if players are on the field or court when the anthem is played, all coaches will support their team players who choose to either stand or kneel during the anthem, Fetrow said in the statement.Fetrow said coaches – in consultation with athletic directors, when necessary – will maintain authority over other disciplinary actions.Durante said he knelt during the anthem to silently and peacefully protest all the injustices that are going on in our country,These are good guys’Durante said Friday he was aware that two other players had been dismissed from the team.I was shocked when I first heard about it today, because these are good guys who work their butts off at practice, he said, acknowledging that he didn’t have all the details about the incident and had not spoken to his former teammates. I don’t think they did anything wrong.Durante said he has heard from other students on campus that the two players were squatting instead of kneeling during the coin toss.I feel bad that they had to go through the same thing I did, he said. It was a little different for me because I knew the risks, and I don’t know if these guys really understood the consequences.Durante knelt during the anthem the previous week. He said he had been warned that if he did so again, he could be dismissed from the team.In her statement Friday, Fetrow said, Our ongoing investigation has uncovered additional evidence from last Saturday’s football game, which demonstrates two additional players chose not to follow the team’s shared commitment to unity. These players did not fully kneel when the team kneeled. As before, these actions represent a failure to comply with team decision, actions which carry consequences.Consistent with existing school, Athletics Department, and football team policy and practice, Coach (John) Marzka validated the evidence, discussed with his staff and with the athletic director, and has dismissed these two players from the team, Fetrow said in the statement.A painful weekThe announcement of the dismissal of two more football players caps a tumultous week for the Albright campus.Fetrow acknowledged that it has been a painful week for Albright’s community. She noted in her statement that the symbols on Albright’s shield represent the equal pursuit of truth and justice. And she said the campus should fully honor diversity in all its forms.This week’s events indicate that we do not fully live up to the values that we purport, Fetrow said in a statement.This community needs true healing, she said. I look forward to working with you on making Albright the community that we dream of being.Staff writers Beth Hudson and Karen Shuey contributed.