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Ohio State players held discussions about national anthem protests

Brutus waves the American Flag after an Ohio State touchdown during the first game of the 2016 season against Bowling Green on Sept. 3 in Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 77-10. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo Editor

Brutus waves the American Flag after an Ohio State touchdown during the first game of the 2016 season against Bowling Green on Sept. 3 in Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 77-10. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo Editor

On Aug. 26, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sent a shockwave through the sports atmosphere when he sat during the national anthem in protest of recent violent events involving black Americans and police. Since then, Kaepernick has gained support, and criticism, from celebrities on sports and non-sports platforms.

But Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, the rest of the coaching staff and the players had a discussion about protesting police violence against African Americans before the season.

“We have addressed it, some of the issues going across this country in the summer with the players,” coach Urban Meyer said on Monday. “And a couple of our coaches spoke.”

Meyer also said that no players have come up to him asking to sit or raise their fists in protest.

The trend is increasing in popularity throughout the NFL and spreading into college. Former Buckeye Malcolm Jenkins raised his fist during the national anthem during Week 2 of NFL season, and recently three Michigan State players and several Michigan players, including All-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis, raised their fists during the national anthem this past week.

Both Spartans coach Mark Dantonio and Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh supported their respective players.

Redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett said that the topic came up during a team meeting one day. Barrett said that it was a very productive conversation, with every player taking a nuanced thought away from the experience. However, there was a general consensus from the players. They are trying to control what they can control, but understand that the issue of police violence against African Americans is a serious one.

“The main thing was saying that these things happening are all real. They’re not something that you can turn your head and look the other way so with that we opened up for conversation,” Barrett said. “I think the main concept behind it is shedding light on an issue that is happening in our home of the United States and that’s a real issue and that’s all he’s trying to do is shed light on it and let people realize that this is what’s happening and that we can change it so it takes everybody too. I think that’s the main thing he’s trying to get it. I wouldn’t do it, per say. But if a teammate did, I wouldn’t have any problem with it at all.”

The support from the coaches of athletes who have made a non-violent protest have mostly been positive, but players have experienced backlash. Nebraska’s senior linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey said he has received racially-charged, negative comments after his protest along with two other Nebraska players.

Redshirt junior Tyquan Lewis said the Buckeyes were educated on freedom of speech during Patriot Week back in May. Lewis said that he doesn’t believe the protests affect them at OSU, but he believes it’s a great cause.

“We certainly respect (the players) rights as a citizen in this great country,” Meyer said. “But that has not come up to me, and if it does, we’ll have a chat about it.”

The No. 2 Buckeyes play Rutgers on Saturday at noon at Ohio Stadium.

5 comments

  1. Go Michigan! Does that upset anyone? Why, its my right, yes? Simply because i attend or work for a school, why should i cheer for them? I am exercising my right to cheer for whomever i choose, regardless of silly things like appreciation for the entity that supports me. Having said that, why shouldn’t i hope my family dies? What could possibly be wrong with that? Or that my friends,or teammates, or co-workers fail? What a crock this sentiment is, that it is alright for anyone to disrespect their country. Where did you ever get the idea…Oh. Of course. From others in your community that uphold offense and disloyalty as points of pride. J. T. Barrett doesn’t have a problem with it? What a shame, that he was raised so poorly, but shame on him if he was raised to respect his “team” but chooses not to.

  2. Dartie naggers. Those poor peachy white children.

  3. What the hell is this
    Whats happening in this country

  4. Given up on the NFL because of disrespectful players (after 40+ years). College Football next? If they can’t respect what this country has allowed them, how can I respect their sport?

    Unpatriotic pansies.

  5. Yes!!!Black Lives Do Matter!This is the beginning of the end for this nation.White people(like myself)think they “got their country back” but this is wrong.That person will never be the president.Civil War in the United States is eminent and all because people couldn’t accept a moral woman for the presidency.I’m old and tired but our youth will rise up.This IS the beginning of the end.God help America!🙏🏽💙✌🏿️✌🏼️✌🏽️✌🏾️✌️️✌🏻️🙏🏽

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