Members Of Razorback Women’s Basketball Team Kneel During National Anthem

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — Six members of the Arkansas Razorback Women’s Basketball team took a knee during the National Anthem on Thursday (Nov. 3) at the team’s exhibition game against Oklahoma Baptist.

The members of the team join a large group of athletes who have taken a knee as protest over racial inequality in America.

University of Arkansas’ Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics, Jeff Long, released the following statement:

“In this country, we value everyone’s right to voice their opinions and views. University campuses are places of learning and thus places where differences of opinion and varying perspectives are recognized.  We respect the rights of our student-athletes and all individuals to express themselves on important issues in our nation.

We will continue to encourage our student-athletes to engage in constructive conversations with their peers, coaches, support staff and administrators to raise awareness of varying backgrounds and life experiences and to develop understanding among conflicting points of view.

We will also continue to support our student-athletes in all areas of their education, community engagement, career and personal development.”

He also added:

“As I expressed in my statement last night, I support our student-athletes’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression. I believe in standing for the National Anthem and will continue to stand as a sign of respect for our military, law enforcement and those who serve our country.”

“It is important to note that members of the women’s basketball team voiced, in their own words, that their demonstration was not directed at those who have served our nation in the military. The intent of their demonstration was to bring awareness to social injustice.”

University of Arkansas Chancellor, Joseph Steinmetz, released the following statement:

“There is no greater freedom in America than the freedom of speech and so many brave Americans have sacrificed defending that very premise.  The intention of our student athletes was not to denigrate the flag, to show disrespect to our veterans or to challenge our freedoms, but rather to simply raise awareness of an important issue of concern in our communities.  While I encourage people to stand during the playing of the national anthem, as I choose to do, I will respect others who exercise free speech guaranteed to them by our Constitution.  Our campus will continue to engage in productive and necessary dialogue until every member of our community feels respected and safe.”

Arkansas politicians have taken to social media to voice their opinions on this matter.

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But, more support has been shown for the team after a Go Fund Me page was set up to raise money to purchase 1,000 tickets to the Razorback’s home game on Sunday (Nov. 13). The creator of the page says he will give out the tickets in an effort to fill up the stands to show the team their support.

3 comments

  • Stacey McCollough

    I thought the Lady Razorbacks were better than this – using privilege to make a political jab at those around you, instead of using it to make a difference in people’s lives, is rather childish. As an alum of the U of A, a family member of individuals that have served, and as a proud Arkansan, I know they feel like it is their individual right to embarrass the team, the University and the State of Arkansas in protest. It is also my right to not support a team, or a University, that allows this. Playing on a college team is a privilege that few get to experience, being supported by fellow students and the public who work hard to pay for that privilege. These few girls obviously do not understand honor, how it is earned, or how to actually make a difference.

    • countryrd1

      And you do not understand the first amendment. These young women are braver and more intelligent than you. You have a right not to support them or express your view and so do they. If I was a gifted young athlete, I’d certainly question coming to or staying in a backward, closed minded state like Arkansas. And all the rabid fans wonder why you can’t get top recruits?

  • Sandy Johnson

    Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and Vice Chancellor Jeff Long made supportive, intelligent statements, that showed they knew how to deal with a diverse population of students on a large academic campus. Predictably, juvenile members of the Arkansas Legislature, once again embarrassed the state, by jumping on the media bandwagon all puffed up with righteous indignation and threats of retaliation towards anyone who challenged their hypocrisy and their discrimination, that they try to hide behind a flag. The girls explained that they were bringing attention to a social injustice. Simple. Our state government turns a blind eye to social injustice and runs right over the voice of the people. They deal with social injustice by passing more and more discriminatory laws that drive tourist and business away. They make public announcements that they don’t want people who are different than them to cross our sacred borders. They made loitering laws that makes it a crime for beggars to be on public property asking people for money or food or even just holding up a sign. Now the police can take beggars to jail if they can’t pay the $500 fine. They make us feel unsafe in our own neighborhoods. I regretfully know the hateful, narrow-minded legislators who are acting offended. They are the same self-serving ones who post anti-Muslim remarks on Facebook, and threaten retaliation against government agencies. They are bullies. They interpret the US Constitution and Bill of Rights to suit whatever financial scheme they have going to steal funds from Medicaid Block Grants that are supposed to be used for programs to assist needy people in our state. I am not embarrassed by the girls on the basketball team, I am embarrassed by my Arkansas Government, whose crimes against the people of Arkansas are becoming more and more transparent.

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