Kneeling controversy reaches high school football field

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GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (WLNS) – It was Friday night lights in Grand Ledge; the stands were filled with fans celebrating homecoming…but as soon as the National Anthem was about to start, the Jackson High School football team took a knee.

“We love our country, we’d never disrespect the flag that was the whole point of us doing it,” said Jackson Vikings Varsity Football Defensive Coordinator Antonio Parker.

When the anthem was underway, players and coaches from the Jackson Viking’s stood up and locked arms and Parker says the players and coaches took this stance to prove a point.

“One of our players felt like there was a lot of social inequality in the country today with all the divisive comments lately from the president and different things going on,” Parker stated.

But others including Grand Ledge local Jeff Edlin disagree with their actions saying this all started with the NFL and now it’s trickling down to high school players and he doesn’t think it’s right.

“I don’t agree with what they’re doing, I wish they would kneel and do their own thing in the locker room type of thing and I wish that everybody could just get along,” said Edlin.

Even for Dale Walters, Sgt. in Arms for the Grand Ledge Honor Guard, he says although the team has the right to take a stand it’s still disappointing.

“I think we need to show more respect for the game, for our flag, for our National Anthem, for our soldiers,” Walters stated.

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Beal sent out a statement Friday in response to the team’s decision.

Beal says…”We support student’s freedom of expression, including the ability to peaceably protest what they see as the social injustices of the world.”

The district also added this was a decision made by the Jackson High School football coaches and players and the district had nothing to do with their decision.

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