Bluefield College men’s basketball players had taken a knee during the National Anthem instead of standing for numerous games. When Bluefield College president David Olive learned of their planned protests, he urged students to cease or deal with the consequences.
However, the players either did not take Olive seriously or believed that kneeling in protest of racial injustice was more essential than their athletic contributions. The squad was prepared to face a rival team when Olive informed them that he was suspending many players for refusing to cease kneeling, resulting in the forfeiture of the game.
Olive claimed that he found out about the players’ kneeling some weeks ago and promptly urged head coach Richard Morgan to halt them. The players knelt again during the National Anthem the next day, causing Olive to examine the implications.
Olive ruled that the venue was insufficient for a protest and that the message the players were attempting to convey would be lost on their audience. He stated that it is their strategy, not their message, that is producing more divisiveness rather than the desired consequence.
Naturally, the players were displeased with Olive’s choice. Despite the president’s admonition, athlete Jewels Gray claimed that authorities assured them that kneeling would not be an issue before the season began.
Despite admitting that the squad was barred from communicating to the media, Gray chastised the college administration and said that they sent contradictory messages. It is uncertain if players who make public remarks will face repercussions.
Bluefield Collegiate president David Olive stands firm in his choice to prohibit athletes from kneeling during the National Anthem before college games. His explanation is that they are portraying the college as a whole, as well as their classmates and community, and their form of protest is divisive and distressing to many.
Protesting has its time and place. When you use somebody else’s platform, you are completely at their mercy. Despite their good intentions, these gamers’ approach has done little to combat racial injustice. In reality, it is fostering much more divisiveness.