Football team accused of disrespecting National Anthem

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  The varsity football team were doing their pre-game ritual before the Oct. 6 game against Richland High School. The began to exit the locker room at Fran Rish Stadium, ready to go out and stand for the National Anthem. But once the team got to the locker room door they realized that the anthem was already playing. So they waited.

  “SWX changed the game time. Usually our games are at 7 [p.m.] and we come out five minutes early and we do the anthem two minutes before the game starts, but SWX, because it was on tv, they changed it to 7:05 [p.m.] and nobody told Richland. They told us, so we were just late coming out because we thought we were on time,” said senior Colten Chelin.

  Because the team waited to run out onto the field after the playing of the anthem, many thought they had taken part in recent NFL protests against the National Anthem.

  “When we went in [to the locker room] after the game a bunch of parents were cussing us out,” said Chelin. “There were even little 7 year-olds yelling at us that we should have stood for the National Anthem.”

  Senior Moziaah Vergara also remembered the aftermath of the team waiting for the anthem.

The singing of the National Anthem at the Oct. 13 homecoming football game vs. Kennewick. Photo by Rucy Questad.

  “I was in the locker room that night and our coaches told us that everything’s going to be five minutes later. It’s what the officials told them. So before every game we do a little huddle and a prayer, and we had just finished that and we were walking out on time. As we walked out and opened the door the National Anthem was playing, so we decided to do the respectful thing and just wait it out. Wait till it ended,” he said. “And then we walked out. And we were all very angry that it was played without us.”

  Vergara said that he nor any member of the football team would ever intentionally kneel for or disrespect the National Anthem.  

  “It’s one thing to not partake in the standing of the anthem but to kneel, it’s just disrespectful,” he said. “I personally would never do it and I know none of the guys on the team would either. Our team [would be] the last to do that. I mean we run out with two flags every game.”

   Online, the argument was taken further than Kamiakin missing the National Anthem. It was the problem of saying Braves at the end of the song.  

  “From personal experiences, I know that all my uncles who have served love the fact that we do that. And even Mr. Bisson has said that he has friends who [have served who] really think it’s awesome. [They] really think it’s awesome that we do that at the end,” Vegara said. “It really isn’t disrespectful. It’s showing that unity in our school, in our country, [and that] we have pride for it.”

  Chelin shared the feelings, saying he thinks people have forgotten that its been a school tradition for almost all of Kamiakin’s history.

  “Honestly we’ve been saying Braves for like 30 years at Kamiakin. It’s not being disrespectful. It’s a school tradition and they shouldn’t be offended by that because we’re not trying to offend anyone and we don’t mean any harm by it. We’ve been doing it forever,” he said.      

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