Basketball coaches open to anthem protests

The University of Detroit Mercy’s men’s and women’s basketball coaches will let their players protest during the national anthem if they choose to this upcoming season.


Athletic protests have taken center stage ever since San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started keeling during the national anthem at NFL games to protest police brutality and social injustice. The gesture has elicited strong emotions both in support and against his actions, and it’s prompted a wave of athletes from college to professional sports to follow suit.


Some sit, others kneel. Some teams choose an action that promotes team unity, like standing arm-in-arm.


Both the men’s and women’s teams have had conversation about the possibility of protesting during games.


“I really don’t know what my team wants to do yet, but we are all going to come together before the first game and see what we’re going to do,” said senior Chris Jenkins.  “It is a very touchy and important subject, and we want to approach it with respect.”


First-year coach Bacari Alexander said that if the men’s team does anything, it will do so as a group.


“Our first core value is unity,” he said.  “So whatever we decide to do, we will do it together, or not at all.”


Alexander plans to have a decision made by the City College Series game against Wayne State, scheduled to take place on Oct. 29.


Women’s coach Bernard Scott is also open to letting the players express themselves.


 “It’s a freedom of speech, and I’m going to support our players,” Scott said. “I’m not going to hold anyone back from voicing their opinion.”


Senior Chea Taylor, an active Black Lives Matter supporter, would like to protest if she has the chance.


“A few of my teammates have been talking about (protesting), but we haven’t decided if we will do it or not,” she said. “I’m sure there will be more discussion about it as we get closer to the games. For me, personally, I would love to join the protests because it’s a spotlight to get the Black Lives Matter Movement point across.”