CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Honor, faith and loyalty are words that Camden Catholic High School wants students to live by and according to the school administration, that means standing during the National Anthem, not kneeling.
“I’m not a fan of it,” said Colin McConnell about kneeling during the anthem. “If you’re not a fan of police and America, wait in the locker room and then come out,” the Camden Catholic senior said.
Since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the National Anthem, to protest racial injustices, others are joining the movement.
Last weekend, coaches and players at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden took a knee and were not disciplined.
On September 2, the Diocese of Camden said protests would not be tolerated at their six high schools.
“We are not public institutions and free speech in all of its demonstrations, including protests, is not a guaranteed right,” a statement from the Diocese of Camden read. It went on to say, “Failure to demonstrate appropriate respect, will result in suspension from play (2 games), or dismissal from the team for subsequent offenses.”
“Personally, I would never kneel during the anthem,” said Marcus Coleman, a Camden native who played football at Camden Catholic and went on to play at Syracuse. He supports the diocese and Kaepernick.
“We have America as a whole speaking on this topic. Maybe everyone doesn’t agree, but we’re speaking on it, so now let’s take the next step: educate, the third step: action, and the final result is change,” Coleman said.
Former coach Rick Brown advises coaches to embrace and guide student-athletes who want to join the protest. Brown coached at Camden Catholic from 2004-2010.
“The biggest thing is doing it as a team,” Brown said. “Doing it together. If the diocese comes down and says you can’t kneel, then that’s something you have to work through, but we would have found a way to protest and get out what the problems are.”