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Members of Cornell’s Marching Band Kneel Before Football Game

Members of Cornell’s Marching Band Kneel Before Football Game

“the band welcomed anyone who wanted to take a knee on the sideline to do so”

From The Cornell Daily Sun:

Members of the Big Red Marching Band became the latest group to join in on the national anthem protests Saturday afternoon before Cornell football’s home opening 21-7 loss to Colgate.

While the band still played the anthem — as it does before each home game — approximately 30 members came together on the sideline to sit out and take a knee. Various other attendees of the game, including a group of fans and several cheerleaders, also elected not to stand for the anthem.

As per tradition for games at Schoellkopf Field, both teams remained in their locker rooms until after the anthem.

According to saxophone player Kevin Linsey ’18, who is a columnist for The Sun sports department, select members of the group took separate time away from practice to discuss the possibility of a demonstration.

In addition to Colin Kaepernick, the ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback who first knelt last season to, as he said, protest racial injustice and police brutality, the group who took part in Saturday’s kneel was inspired by Kyra Butler ’20. Butler took a knee during the anthem at last week’s game at Yale, drawing the attention of her bandmates who wanted to take part as well.

“Word got around and other people saw it as an option too,” Butler said. “Since it got big enough, we talked about it at the band’s exec meeting.”

After making sure Cornell Athletics was on board — which Butler said it was — the band welcomed anyone who wanted to take a knee on the sideline to do so.

“We just wanted to make sure individuals had a chance to express what they wanted to express,” Linsey said.

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That position has for centuries been one of either prayer or surrender. It’s clear that there is no prayer involved here, so to whom are these young fools and poltroons surrendering?

A pathetic display, made even sadder by the acquiescence – nay, the active support – of the Cornell Athletic department.

Well, the 30 fans slated to attend this game were probably delighted.

This act is entirely unoriginal at Cornell. Back in the 1970s black students routinely refused to stand for the national anthem at sporting events. Getting a full ride to an Ivy League institution for these students, many of whom were less than prepared or qualified, was apparently nothing to be grateful for. Resentment for the hand-out for most was the order of the day.