THE ISSUE:

Anthem protests spread to colleges, WNBA player sits 

NEW YORK (AP) — Liberty guard Brittany Boyd sat on the bench with her head bowed in prayer during the national anthem before a WNBA playoff game.

College football players for Michigan and Michigan State, along with a group of students at North Carolina, raised their fists during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Saturday.

Since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem before NFL preseason games, citing racial injustice and police brutality, his movement has slowly spread across fields and courts in the U.S. On Saturday, college and professional athletes joined together to follow his lead after a week punctuated by riots in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the killing of an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

"I choose not to stand up and I sit down and pray," the second-year guard said. "Colin and his message about social injustice going on in this country today is something I believe needs change."

Three Michigan State players held their right fists in the air while standing on the sideline before the No. 8 Spartans hosted No. 11 Wisconsin.

"Whether somebody salutes, puts the hand over their heart or does something else, everybody has a choice to make," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said.

Student Reactions

Kenneth Duncan, senior geography major

"It's their choice, but, at the same time, there's a time and a place to do it," Duncan said. "Big sporting events [are] not the place."


Caleb Meilink-Smith, senior telecommunications major

"I'm in favor and think it's a good way to protest while staying on your team," Smith said.


Eric McLain, freshman business major

"I think that's excessively disrespectful...to say 'I'm not even going to give you the basic courtesy to put my hand on my heart and stand like a halfway-decent human being,'" McLain said.


Kate Kelley, sophomore exercise science and psychology major

I feel like minorities feel like they're being targeted in all this violence," Kelley said. "They [still] need to respect the police and what they're trying to do."