Albright College Athlete Is Dismissed From Team for Kneeling During National Anthem

A backup quarterback at Albright College, a liberal-arts institution in Reading, Pa., has been dismissed from the football team after kneeling during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a game last weekend.

Gyree Durante, a freshman, knelt during the performance of the national anthem before a game against Delaware Valley University and was subsequently cut from the team. “At some point in life, there’s going to be a time when you’ve got to take a stand,” Mr. Durante told NBC 10. “For me it just happened to be on Saturday afternoon.”

A spokeswoman for the college told ESPN that the team had come to a decision to kneel before the game and stand during the national anthem. The “show of unity” was supported by the coaching staff of Albright, which competes in Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, she said. The players had been told that there could be consequences if they decided to kneel during the anthem.

Colin Kaepernick sparked a nationwide movement last fall when he first sat, then began kneeling, during the national anthem to protest police brutality in the wake of several high-profile shootings of unarmed black people. That original meaning has been lost on many critics, however, who have argued the players are protesting the national anthem. In recent weeks, President Trump has criticized the act of kneeling during the national anthem, saying the players are “disrespecting” the American flag.

“I was just taught you fight for what you believe in and you don’t bow to anyone,” Mr. Durante told NBC 10. “I believe heavily in this. So I decided to fight for it.”

Return to Top