A youth football team in Texas just had their entire football season cancelled by adults for taking a knee during the national anthem.
The 11 and 12-year-old Beaumont Bulls football team in Beaumont, Texas just found out what happens if you speak up in America, you get punished. The team made national headlines last month when they opted to follow in Colin Kaepernick‘s footsteps and take a knee during the national anthem before their game on Sept. 10. It should be noted that the boys came up with the idea themselves, it wasn’t forced on them by their coaches.
At first they had the full support of the executive board of the team, who went as far to make this statement to the media:
The Beaumont Bulls organization is about uplifting and educating young boys and men of all ethnicities and cultures through sports and public service. We are not anti-military. We are not anti-law enforcement. Our players made the choice to kneel and not sit during the National Anthem in a silent and peaceful manner and we supported them then and now. However, their choice to express themselves has now made them a target for hateful comments and threats to their lives as well as those working with the team by those in our community and surrounding areas. These types of responses are not how we teach them to react when they don’t agree with something. We are truly disheartened by some of the responses, but we know that they are not representative of the entire Golden Triangle. It is our hope and desire to cultivate young men that will be leaders in our communities that will make a difference in this world and though their stance was not seen by all as a sign of progress, we believe that it was and we will continue to support them.
However, before their next game, the boys were told by that same executive board to stand during the anthem. When they refused the request and continued to protest, the board suspended their head coach Rah-Rah Barber for the rest of the season. After that their assistant coach Alfred Dean resigned out of disgust. Then the boys themselves decided to protest those events by refusing to practice until they got their coaches back.
According to the NY Daily News, the executive board responded by suspending the entire team and cancelled their season. The Beaumont Bulls executive board insists that their decision came after they caught coaches sending inappropriate emails, but we can all smell that BS from a mile away.
So yes, a group of adolescent boys just had their whole football season cancelled for speaking against injustice. Even Kaepernick and the other NFL players joining him in protest have yet to face such a punishment for their actions, and they get paid to play.
How is it possible that the NFL has more room for protest than a little league football team?