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North Texas volleyball players kneel with Kaepernick

North Texas volleyball players kneel with Kaepernick

Volleyball players Chelsea Abii, Amanda Chamberlain, Mikali Myers, Alexis Wright, and Jordyn Williams kneel during the national anthem Sept. 25.

North Texas volleyball players kneel with Kaepernick
September 24
00:18 2016

In the wake of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem to protest police brutality, athletes across the country have followed his lead.

On Friday at the North Texas volleyball match versus the University of Southern Mississippi, four Mean Green athletes decided to join them. Juniors Chelsea Abii, Amanda Chamberlain, Mikali Myers, and Alexis Wright made the bold decision to kneel during the national anthem.

“We are protesting,” Abii said. “There is a lot of injustice going on in our community and a lot of police brutality issues, and we don’t feel as if they’re being answered and being handled in the way [they] need to be. As a response to that, we cannot stand and pay homage to a country when we feel like they’re not paying homage to us. Everyday we turn on the TV and we see them killing us. We just can’t stand.”

These athletes are the first from North Texas to join the national protest. The four women, they said, hope to send a message to the community — to get people talking about the issues.

Myers notes that as athletes, whether local or worldwide, they are already on a platform and placed in the limelight.

“It’s important for us if we have the opportunity to say something or even just kneel, that means something,” Myers said. “That starts conversations.”

Head coach Andrew Palileo knew before the game his players would kneel during the Star Spangled Banner. The women came to him and the rest of the team to discuss what they were going to do, opening up the door for anyone else that would like to participate.

“I told them, ‘do what you have to and I support you and we’ll be right there,’” Palileo said. “I told them it was courageous and if it’s something they feel strongly about, go ahead.”

The women not only want conversation, but solutions, too. With more names becoming a hashtag on Twitter after being killed by police, the athletes said they want justice for the families, and for the killings to stop.

“They look like us,” Wright said. “They look like our dads. They look like our cousins. We all want to be moms, but we shouldn’t feel scared to have a son. We shouldn’t feel like we need to tell our kids to watch out for the police because we want them to be on our side.”

The women, they said, are open to anyone who wants to talk to them about what they’re doing. They have already discussed and answered questions from teammates, but want to open up their window to everyone.

Chamberlain wants to make one thing clear.

“Just because we did that doesn’t mean we’re anti-police, anti-white, or anti-anything,” Chamberlain said.


Featured Image: Volleyball players Chelsea Abii, Amanda Chamberlain, Mikali Myers, Alexis Wright, and Jordyn Williams kneel during the national anthem Sept. 25. Taylor Ratcliff

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Courtney Anderson

Courtney Anderson

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