High-school football: Garfield team, some West Seattle players protest during anthem before game @ SWAC


As mentioned in our daily event preview, Garfield High School football players told the South Seattle Emerald that they planned to kneel during the national anthem before tonight’s game with West Seattle High School, to protest racial oppression. The anthem has just been sung (by WSHS’s Kelsey Lenzie) here at Southwest Athletic Complex, and not only did Garfield’s players kneel, as shown in the top photo, so did several WSHS players, while the Garfield cheer squad sat (photo below).


The game is now underway and we will report on it separately later.

ADDED: Garfield coaches, from our photographer on the field.


13 Replies to "High-school football: Garfield team, some West Seattle players protest during anthem before game @ SWAC"

  • tristan September 16, 2016 (7:52 pm)

    Proud of those who choose to use their voices.

  • Amy September 16, 2016 (8:07 pm)

    I teach high school government and I’m way proud of all of the kids, their exercise of free speech patriotism, and their civic involvement. Thanks for reporting it! 

  • Misti September 16, 2016 (9:02 pm)

    Proud of these students standing up for (or kneeling for) the “…with liberty and justice for ALL”. It’s a peaceful, respectful protest that puts greater value on the citizens of the country rather than the symbol of our country. 

  • WSEd September 16, 2016 (9:19 pm)

    I don’t mean to diminish anyone’s right to exercise free speach or start an artificial rage fest about “disgracing those who fight for our freedoms” but this feels much more like a fashion statement than a protest.  

    • Mike September 17, 2016 (5:13 am)

      Personally I feel the same and would hope more teams and players will start going the direction of what the Seahawks did and show a sign of unity rather than silently protest during a song that’s intent is to highlight the sacrifices of those that have fought and/or died to provide the freedoms (which includes kneeling during the national anthem).  A stronger silent protest that would bring light to the real issue of division amongst people within our communities.  To unite and interlock arms with other players, coaches, and people in the stands would be a far stronger way to raise awareness and show what needs to be done to fight the issues at hand.  What is needed to fight bias is unification, not separation.  We all have the right to protest and we all have the ability to show respect to those that have fought for that right.  When I saw a Dolphins player kneel right behind a U.S. Marine holding the U.S. flag during the national anthem, I felt they might as well given that same Marine the middle finger.  If that same player had interlocked arms with fellow teammates, I would have seen it as a sign of respect to the Marine AND a protest which shows what is needed to resolve the real issue.   We need our communities to come together and unify for the greater good.  Chicago is a spectacular example of a community in dire need of unification.  We need everyone to realize we cannot fight amongst ourselves to help each other live better lives, it will only do the opposite.  I hope more people keep that in mind when they decide to take a knee during the national anthem, I’ve love to see more players, coaches and onlookers interlock arms.  Unite together, fight the issues together.

    • Junction Mom too September 17, 2016 (10:51 am)

      I would see your point if these were adults, but after reading how thoughtful the students were and how they took the time to learn about all facets of the protest, I think it was appropriate timing and an lesson they will always remember.

      • Mike September 17, 2016 (3:32 pm)

        Learning is one thing, taking action is another.  I’d like to see what next steps will be for people to actually follow through and make change happen rather than just taking a knee to raise a point.  These are not ignorant kids, they’re well educated and some less than a year from the age they’ll be required to register for Selective Services where they might see hardships never imaginable to most citizens of the U.S.  We’re lucky we get the right to protest, no matter what people might feel is right or wrong, that right is there for a reason.  I can’t fault them for exercising that right, doing so would defeat the fundamental difference in why the U.S. is and has been a far greater place to live than other countries.  The learning should not stop, it needs to continue.  Even those that want to take a knee should continue to learn that racial injustice is not only confined to the U.S.  It’s far bigger than the U.S.  Stand up for those that cannot, unify and fight for those that cannot.   Take action.

  • Scorekeeper September 16, 2016 (11:19 pm)

    What was the score of the game?

    • WSB September 16, 2016 (11:20 pm)

      52-9 Garfield.

      We tweeted as usual from the game and will be publishing a separate report later.

  • WSJoe September 17, 2016 (8:51 am)

    Why aren’t the cheerleaders drawing attention for sitting?

    • Mike September 17, 2016 (11:04 am)

      Good question

  • Really September 17, 2016 (10:32 pm)


    Im all for protest- and there are so many ways to protest and protest strongly- but is this an effective way to make your point, and gain allies? Or is this a way to cause further division and diminish your credibility? I respect young people trying to take a big stand, and when you take big action, you should be prepared for big consequences. The reason it’s a big deal is because it’s a big deal. The national anthem is the message that stands for ALL of us, and being disrespectful to this most important symbol, is a poke in the eye to all those that have fought and died to make your protest protected. The reason the seahawks didn’t take a knee was because some grown ups told them it would not serve them well. Yes, you can do it- and that’s why you don’t do it. It shows a lack of decorum, and shuts the ears of those you’re trying to reach. 

    But, you know- go ahead.  Soon this won’t matter either.

  • Bill Bob September 19, 2016 (8:16 am)

    Like you said, Really. The anthem is a symbol. However, it is a symbol of patriotism, not for what we are as a nation. It is also not our values. The most important symbol is not a song or a flag, it is people exercising their rights. The only big consequences that people should and will face for this protest, is that it gets shown in the media (good or bad).  

    I doubt this is shutting anyone’s ears. Everyone who watched or reads media is talking about this. The protest has been successful. Maybe it won’t matter, but does anything really matter?

Sorry, comment time is over.