Bluefield College suspends basketball team for kneeling during anthem

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  1. Lone Wolf Prime profile image81
    Lone Wolf Primeposted 3 years ago

    In recent new, Bluefield College President, David Olive, has recently suspended several members of the basketball team for kneeling during the national anthem, after they were warned not to.   

    His reasoning behind this issue was this, as quoted by him:

    "The basis for my decision stemmed from my own awareness of how kneeling is perceived by some in our country, and I did not think a number of our alumni, friends, and donors of the College would view the act of kneeling during the anthem in a positive way,"

    He goes onto to say: 

    "I further told them that their intended message in bringing awareness of racial injustices was being diluted or completely lost because some saw their act of kneeling as being disrespectful to the flag, our country, and to our veterans.  In my opinion, their message was not being heard."

    Needless to say, the players didn't listen to this warning and knelt on February 8, where the president promised there would be consequences for their actions, and cited how this does not violate any first amendment rights.  After suspending the players, the team was forced to forfeit the following game.

    What makes this story even more interesting is that the players claim that they were told before the season that they were allowed to kneel during the anthem, but they couldn't say exactly who told them they were allowed to do so.  Hence, they were confused by the suspensions.

    Here's a link to know more about the story: … 28109.html

    My question to all of you is this.  Who's in the wrong here? And who's in the right?  Was it justified for the Bluefield College President to suspend these players?  Or was it wrong for him to impede on their first amendment rights?  Or do you think that the President may have lied to them citing that maybe he and other school officials told them it was okay to kneel initially but went back on the decision later? Or do you think the students and Gray, in the article link, are making that up?  Please discuss.

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      The players do not own the gym.  They do not own the college.  They do not own the team. 

      As such, using that venue to make political statements, after being told not to, leaves them without a leg to stand on.  They are free to kneel in the street near the college flagpole, but they are NOT free to use the college as a platform for their statements.

      1. donotfear profile image84
        donotfearposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Well said, Wilderness.

    2. Credence2 profile image78
      Credence2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I say, horse puckey. 

      The players are students that pay tuition, I don't care what is it that disturbs Rightwingers, anyway. They are human beings not a product. I think that the administrator is out of line as the difference between paid professional players performing and college students is quite obvious to me. We had a president who while in office exercised his "right" to free speech which everybody who is anyone would say was inciting a riot, yet basketball players cannot make their gesture, without the Right getting bent out of shape?

      The people are there to watch the game and they should do just that as the Right of students expressing themselves in a peaceful and non vulgar manner should be preserved. What about the 1st Amendment rights of the students, they are not just performing seals, you know? I have to tolerate rightwing mobs threatening the Michigan governor as an expression of free speech by the Right, but these students cannot kneel? If people are so easily intimidated perhaps they need to stay home in the first place.

      There is no going back or forward, the rights of the students to peacefully expressed themselves in public must remain sacrosanct.

      1. wilderness profile image94
        wildernessposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Would a group have first amendment rights to hold a Trump rally on your front lawn?

        1. Credence2 profile image78
          Credence2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

          My  Front lawn is private property, Wilderness. Using your logic, maybe the players should not agree to play at all

          1. Sharlee01 profile image88
            Sharlee01posted 3 years agoin reply to this

            I think if they feel that strongly they should truly protest playing. I see both sides on this one. I do think the players would be taken more seriously if they protested on their own time outside of institutional sports. Ultimately they do have their individual first amendment rights. And they are not stopping others from respecting the anthem. I would just let them do what they please if it is not causing problems.

            1. Credence2 profile image78
              Credence2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

              Lets face it Sharlee, certain people are not so much disturbed by the action more than what it is in their minds that it represents.

              I am a veteran and I take no offense at the action of the students. No one is being fooled here. Peaceful, reverential with respect. If the Rightwinger can't receive that message, then too bad for him or her. I have to listen to that Greene lady in Congress with her anti-Semitic diatribe, as supposedly a responsible member of the Government. At the same time, her fellow legislators (GOP) excuse this as "free speech".  This at the highest levels of Government, while the Right denigrates college students exercising their right to "free speech"

              I draw the line in professional sports because, unfortunately, these men are paid to perform and that is the only reason I may not support such gestures in sports, generally.

              The students should seriously consider whether they want to participate in any athletic activity at such an institution where their right to speech is going to be so encroached upon.

              1. Sharlee01 profile image88
                Sharlee01posted 3 years agoin reply to this

                As I said all should have their 1st amendment protected.  Free speech is at the core of our society, as is the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. If we start choosing to pick and choosing and picking persons that can have these rights,
                we are in trouble.  If the students are peaceful they should be able to take to their knee.   I note most want to follow the Constitution and will argue the point with veracity, as I do myself. We can't pick and choose which parts to respect, we need to be tolerant and respect the rights of others. I love the anthem, I absolutely love it when I attend a baseball game, and one can see many put their hand on their hearts even outside the stadium if late for the anthem. But, I like to respect others, maybe they are feeling the same pride down on that knee for another reason, another cause.

                It's time we all realize we need to put the breaks on, and really look around to all that is really going on in our country, our society. Those being peaceful taking a knee need their space.

                1. Credence2 profile image78
                  Credence2posted 3 years agoin reply to this


          2. wilderness profile image94
            wildernessposted 3 years agoin reply to this

            Does that mean that college property is open to anyone that wants to use it for any purpose?  Can I hold my 18th birthday bash in the ballroom?  May I have a party in the English class?  May I protest gay rights in the swimming pool?  Can I have a KKK rally during a football game?

            No.  There are rules set by the college; people (students or otherwise) do not have the right to decide that the rules do not apply to them.

            1. Credence2 profile image78
              Credence2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

              Just like I can gather the "brothers" of the Black Panthers People Party to party in your back yard?

              You know what I am talking about, Wilderness.

              How does an otherwise respectful gesture compare with that?

              1. wilderness profile image94
                wildernessposted 3 years agoin reply to this

                The point is that "respect" is in the eye of the beholder, and a great many find great disrespect in kneeling before the flag.  Is it not in the hands of the college whether or not to allow such massive disrespect to the flag, and thereby the nation it stands for (and supplies not only the venue and the education for those same students)? 

                Either we are required to make all tax supported property available to any and all that wish to use it for whatever purpose they wish to, or not.  If we are then shouldn't we be applauding, or at least ignoring, the White Supremacist gang parading down the sidelines of a college football game? 

                We don't get the choose - either all are welcome to use our property for their purposes or none is.

                1. Credence2 profile image78
                  Credence2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

                  "and a great many find great disrespect in kneeling before the flag."
                  And on the other hand, a great many don't, so now what? Disrespect is your sole interpretation and is not shared.

                  Free speech is free speech, Wilderness, and that applies to everyone. While , I might have a concern with disrespectful gestures during the anthem, I don't think solemnly taking a knee is one of them. If the klan wants to march,  fine, as long as they are non violent and not impede ongoing activities.

                  I get pissed about colleges allowing students to carry guns on campus, yet taking a knee is SO offensive... looks as if we all have our axes to grind, right, Wilderness?

                  1. wilderness profile image94
                    wildernessposted 3 years agoin reply to this

                    Yes we do (have axes).  And yet we continue to bend over backward so as not to offend others.  We require PC language so as not to offend a handful.  We tear down monuments to our history because a minority find them "offensive".  We change decades old team names because a tiny minority find them offensive.

                    How do we pick which actions are offensive and worthy of protection and which are to be applauded?  Those with loud voices are protected while those wishing to remain with the status quo are not?

    3. tsmog profile image84
      tsmogposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      To me it parallels the case of having to say the Pledge of Allegiance. That was resolved with Barnett vs. West Virginia State Board of Education 1943 by the Supreme Court. It came down to a first amendment rights issue. The court ruled essentially saying the students cannot be forced to do rituals like salute the flag or recite the Pledge. So, as I see it the 'student' athletes can not be forced to stand for the National Anthem, even though the kneeling is seen as an act of protest.

      There have been many schools taking issue with kneeling especially in high schools. It would be interesting if someone finally does take it to court. I think the Barnett vs. West Virginia decision would come into play since these are schools.

      The Wikipedia explanation of Barnett vs. West Virginia Board of Education … ._Barnette

      Articles of interest regard kneeling and the Barnett vs West Virginia . . . case:

      Colin Kapaepernick kneeling and the 1943 case

      The New Yorker … court-case

      The Observer … ntroversy/

      Snopes conclusion with Kapaepernick is the NFL being a private entity the 1943 Supreme Court ruling does not apply. … c-rituals/

      Edit: It occurred to me some colleges/universities are private. So, does the Snopes conclusion for the NFL apply in those cases?

  2. GwennyOh profile image91
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    Our world is being systematically destroyed by making the younger generations more and more subservient. Like another person said before--they are humans and are not products. Maybe someone else funds the college or runs it, but that does not make them less human. No laws were being broken, and that mixed messages were involved makes their stance even more understandable. I say bravo!

  3. RJ Schwartz profile image88
    RJ Schwartzposted 3 years ago

    These young athletes are trained to follow the rules of their chosen sport, they should also have to follow the rules of their chosen school.  Rules are rules and if they wanted to change them, there are legitimate avenues for pursuing a change.  Free Speech does not mean a free pass to pursue your own agenda anytime you feel the need to.  It also does not give you a carte blanche - there are consequences to our actions.  If people choose to tune out because of how they interpret it, that is their right.

  4. Live to Learn profile image59
    Live to Learnposted 3 years ago

    I get the point the president is making. The players are attempting to make a statement. The statement heard would be entirely different from the one they want to make.

    It is a private college, I believe. Why let an ill conceived gesture (one totally inappropriate in a sports venue) proceed if it will alienate donors, boosters and alumni?

  5. Readmikenow profile image94
    Readmikenowposted 3 years ago

    This was the right move.  It is the job of the basketball team to play basketball, not make political statements.  If it meant so much to them, they can protest on their off time.  They want to do it because of the attention.  So, if any of them protested on their own time, I would have more respect for them. When you take advantage like this, no, you are just doing it for attention and not any substance.

  6. Credence2 profile image78
    Credence2posted 3 years ago

    Sorry guys, I will have to go back on my initial observation a bit. I forget that students that attend institutes of higher learning with a foundation of a certain religious denomination tend to already acknowledge that their inquiry into life is going to be circumcised at the start. As they tend to lean Right, can any less be expected? How much "Liberty" can be expressed at a place like Liberty university? You go in knowing that freedoms and options of expression that you would associate with   college life is absent in religiously oriented schools. Can you do "Animal House" at a service academy? I doubt it. So, you enroll accepting a circumscribed existence.

    Because students that attend such institutions are to be subject to rules of decorum not found at public or secular oriented institutions, the prerogative of the students are limited and certainly different.

    So, I will have to say under the circumstances the students were wrong but ONLY under these circumstances.

  7. emge profile image80
    emgeposted 3 years ago

    This is something that cannot be condoned.  In my view this is treason and sends a message to the world  the it's free  for all in America. Why can't these chaps be suspended from playing another game. I have long felt the Afro Americans at least some of them need to be chastened.

  8. GA Anderson profile image89
    GA Andersonposted 3 years ago

    I am jumping in late, but I agree with the position that protesting at private homes should not be okay. Instances such as in this discussion seem to make Disturbing the Peace laws toothless efforts.

    I also don't see any freedom of speech problems. Those protesters could still protest at their target's offices or other public places. I don't think the freedom of speech right of protests is a blanket right to intimidate and frighten—which is certainly the result of protesting at most private residences.



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