Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest has now trickled down to the scholastic ranks.
Junior quarterback and defensive back Mike Oppong, out of Doherty High School in Worcester, Mass., knelt during the national anthem just before his team’s season opener Oppong said his actions were in support of Kaepernick’s ongoing protests before San Francisco 49ers games. He tweeted:
“I’m standing up to the injustice that happens to black people every day, not just cops killing black people. We are distrusted and mistreated everywhere we go because of the color of our skin and I’m sick of it.”
Oppong was subsequently suspended for one game by his coaches and principle, leading to an outpouring of support on social media. Many pointed out that it would be illegal for Oppong to be suspended for exercising his first amendment rights. According to masslive.com, Superintendent of Schools Maureen Binienda bolstered that view by rescinding his suspension.
“The Doherty student did not violate any school rule when he peacefully and silently protested during the National Anthem,” Binienda said in a statement. “He exercised his Constitutional Rights without disturbing the school assembly and he is not being disciplined by his actions.”
Oppong announced the news on Twitter, and later said he planned to continue his protest, which he believes is creating a necessary dialogue.
“Worcester Public Schools is a rich, diverse community that thrives to maintain open dialogue about the challenges that our community and our country face,” he wrote.