Withrow High School football players join Colin Kaepernick protest during national anthem

Teens say they want to be part of conversation
Posted at 6:15 PM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 07:39:22-04

CINCINNATI – Withrow High School football players say they plan to keep protesting police shootings of unarmed black men around the country.

Last week,  four players raised their fists during the national anthem at the Loveland game. And other Withrow players told WCPO they will take a knee during the anthem at this week's game at Anderson.

Players said it's a move to start a conversation about issues that hit close to home. One of them said he talked with his parents about protesting. It's the same conversation about race and oppression happening around the country, started in large part on a football field.

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick sparked controversy and conversation around the country when he sat in protest during the anthem before a preseason game. Other NFL players have followed suit.

RELATED: Colin Kaepernick Explains Why He Sits Out The National Anthem

The Ohio High School Athletic Association says standing is U.S. code "and that's what we expect our schools to do," said Tim Stried, Director of Communications. But there won't be any OHSAA penalties for players who don't, Stried said.

"There is no penalty if that is not followed," he said.  "Nothing would happen … It would be like any other national game … the game would go on."

Anderson High School says it supports students' rights to speech and they have a program focused on acceptance of everyone.

"If we have to have ongoing conversations around it,  we certainly will," said Anderson Principal Mike Overbey. "It's something that we know is an important topic today."

Overbey said they've spoken to key senior leaders about the protests but do not plan on addressing the issue formally in school. They say their main focus is to have a positive environment for everyone at this homecoming game.

 As for security, deputies say it will be business as usual.