Division III Football Player Cut by Team for Kneeling During National Anthem

ESPN – A Division III football player has been dismissed from his team for kneeling during the national anthem before a game last weekend. Gyree Durante, a backup quarterback at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, was kicked off the team after he knelt by himself during the national anthem before last Saturday’s 41-6 loss to Delaware Valley University.An Albright College spokeswoman said in a statement that the team’s leadership council, which consists of 24 players, voted to kneel during the coin toss and stand during the national anthem. Durante then decided to kneel during the national anthem on his own.

Alright, why don’t we just pump the fucking breaks here, Albright College. You’re a D-III liberal arts school; not the goddamn Dallas Cowboys. Its one thing for a multi-billion dollar industry to start getting pissy when players kneeling is screwing with their advertisers. Its another thing entirely for this football factory in Reading, Pennsylvania to start cutting teenagers for protesting. Not to mention this is college. A Liberal Arts college. What the hell do kids do in college besides drink and shackle themselves with a lifetime worth of debt if they’re not able to protest? Kids protest legitimately everything in college. Its supposed to be a learning environment. Not a place you should cut a kid for standing up (no pun intended) for what he believes in.

Now I’m pretty sure D-III schools don’t give out scholarships so its not like they ruined the kid’s life or anything, but come on. If we’re being honest, intentionally getting cut was probably half the reason he did it. Why am I practicing and going to film sessions and waking up early to wreck my knees and get CTE when I’m in college and should be funneling vodka cokes and blacking out on a Tuesday afternoon.

And we can all cut the crap about how he made his team look bad by being the only guy kneeling. Except for Captain America here:

Josh Powell, a freshman defensive end from Tampa, told NBC 10 that Durante broke his teammates’ trust by taking a knee during the national anthem. “We trusted him throughout the week, after time and time again he told us he would stand,” Powell said, according to NBC 10. “When you can’t have a player on a team that you can trust, he’s got to go.”

This guy just sounds like a Grade-A dickhead, a real practice hero. The guy who’s laying the hit stick on teammates during walkthroughs.

Look, I wouldn’t kneel during the anthem myself as I’d feel uncomfortable doing so, but thats the point. Thats what a lot of people are missing. Its supposed to make people feel uncomfortable, otherwise it wouldn’t get attention. It wouldn’t be a worthwhile protest if it wasn’t pissing people off. Now the next step is to articulate why you’re protesting and work towards having intelligent discussions about what everyone can do to impact change. Is every single player kneeling able to intelligently articulate the exact reasons why they’re kneeling and what it means to them? Probably not, but there’s plenty who are able to do just that so trying to ban kneeling or forcing players to stand will only create more divisiveness and ultimately other forms of protest.

Its supposed to start a conversation and make everyone take a look at the world we live in, for better or for worse, and try to understand the way others see the world from their perspective. Its called empathy. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re not, but the truth is almost always somewhere in the middle. So by outright dismissing the protest because you don’t agree with the method, you’re missing the boat.

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