A football team of 8-year-olds all took a knee during the national anthem in their game on Saturday, joining the ever-growing protest that started in the NFL and has moved to other sports.
The now multi-sport protest started last year when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against minorities. Since then, the protest extended to dozens of other players and earned the ire of Donald Trump.
On Friday, the president spoke out against protesting players during a rally in Alabama, saying that NFL owners should fire players who joined the protest.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. He is fired. He’s fired!'” Trump said (via CNN). “Total disrespect of our heritage, a total disrespect of everything that we stand for. Everything that we stand for.”
The statement drew widespread criticism and led to dozens of new players and some entire teams joining in the protest across the NFL — and one youth team as well. In Cahokia, Illinois, a team of 8-year-old football players took after Kaepernick’s protest and took a knee during the national anthem. As CBS Sports noted, the team decided on the protest after talking to their coach and were inspired after protests that took place in St. Louis.
“One of the kids brought it up and asked, ‘What’s going on in St. Louis? Why are they demonstrating and rioting?'” Gooden said (via the Belleville News-Democrat). “He’s just an 8-year-old baby and he’s asking me why they are doing it. I felt it was a teaching opportunity. As a coach and adult, it’s your role to protect those that are weaker and to enlighten them when you can.”
Video of their protest can be seen below.
The youth football team’s protest earned some national attention, with video of the 8-year-olds taking a knee spreading across social media. An editorial from the Belleville News-Democrat supported the protest, noting that it is an American right to take part in a political protest.
There are many new NFL teams joining in the protest, and on Saturday, the first MLB player joined in as well. Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell, the son of a U.S. Army veteran, took a knee and held his hand over his heart during the national anthem.
The 8-year-old football players who took a knee during the national anthem even stole some attention away from the NFL protests, which exploded on Sunday to include dozens of players and teams following Donald Trump’s remarks.
[Featured Image by ActionPics/iStock]