The Ole Miss basketball team is woke (well, some of them). Players on the squad knelt during the national anthem in protest of pro-Confederate rallies happening near their university’s campus.
Deadspin reports that K.J. Buffen, Terence Davis, Luis Rodriguez, Bruce Stevens, Devontae Shuler and Breein Tyree took a knee before the team’s home game against Georgia on Saturday (Feb. 24). A total of eight players kneeled per reports.
Minutes before the game, both teams formed lines for the anthem. As “The Star-Spangled Banner” began, six Rebels players — who appeared to be KJ Buffen, D.C. Davis, Brian Halums, Luis Rodriguez, Devontae Shuler and Bruce Stevens — knelt one by one. Two more players — appearing to be Breein Tyree and Franco Miller Jr. — took a knee on the song’s final line.
The game was being played while two pro-Confederacy groups organized a march onto the campus in Oxford, Mississippi.
“The majority of it was we saw one of our teammates doing it and we just didn’t want him to be alone,” Ole Miss scoring leader Tyree said after his team’s 72-71 victory. “We’re just tired of these hate groups coming to our school and portraying our campus like it’s our actual university having these hate groups in our school.”
So no, they weren’t disrespecting the flag or servicemen. Star player Tyree later tweeted: “To the people that fight for this country, my teammates and I meant no disrespect to everything that you do for us, but we had to take a stand to the negative things that went on today on our campus. #WeNeedChange”
The team’s coach, Kermit Davis, was unaware the protest was going to happen, but he supported his players, as he should.