Division III player kicked off team after kneeling for national anthem
A player at Division III Albright College is no longer a member of the football team for choosing to kneel for the national anthem and go against the plans of the team to all do the same thing during the anthem. Backup quarterback Gyree Durante knelt for the national anthem during Saturday’s game. The team, according to NBC 10 in Philadelphia, decided to kneel before the anthem and then stand as a team during it. The freshman quarterback was the only member of the team to go against the group decision and knelt for a second-straight game.
He’s now off the team. According to a statement from the school given to the station, the decision to kick Durante off the team was made by the team’s leadership council after he chose to do his
own thing. From NBC 10:
“This action, which was supported by the coaching staff, was created as an expression of team unity and out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences,” she wrote. “It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views.”
The spokeswoman said the action was recommended by the team’s leadership council, which is made up of 24 student-athletes selected annually by team members. She also said the players had an understanding that there may be consequences for anyone who chose not to support the team.
“One football player, who unbeknownst to the coach and the team, chose not to support team unity and has been dismissed from the team,” she wrote. “He remains a valued member of the Albright College student body.”
For his part, Durante said he was doing what he felt he had to do. Albright College is a private, liberal arts college. That’s an important attribute to note given the reach of the First Amendment within the context of the decision of players to protest in the national anthem. It’s not a publicly funded college revoking a player’s status because of a peaceful protest.
And if the spokesperson’s statement is true that the decision to kick Durante off the team came from his teammates, it’s fair to wonder if the QB may not have been on the most solid footing with his teammates.
If teammates understood or felt there were genuine reasons for Durante to protest during the anthem against the group decision, perhaps they wouldn’t have taken such a drastic measure. But it’s pretty clear from the statement and decision that his teammates weren’t supportive of the maneuver. And betraying the trust of your teammates — no matter what the act is — is never a good idea.