At least one high school baseball team in Iowa opened its season on Monday by taking a knee during the national anthem in a show of support of Black Lives Matter.
The Roosevelt Roughriders, in their home white uniforms, stepped out of their third-base dugout and dropped to a knee and linked arms as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played at Principal Park in Des Moines, home of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, NBC affiliate WHO reported.
“We’re just trying to show our appreciation, and it’s about social justice,” Roosevelt senior outfielder Jayden Singleton told the station.
“It shows how we are together as a team and have a strong core.”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the 2016 NFL season to protest systemic racism and police brutality. Kaepnernick has not been signed by any team since he left the 49ers after that season.
His kneeling drew the ire of President Donald Trump who urged owners to cut players who engage in this silent protest.
But since the start of worldwide protests in the wake of the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, activists, lawmakers and even police officers have dropped to a knee.
“No disrespect to the flag. It’s simply to bring attention to the issues at hand, and I think we did the right thing,” Roosevelt senior infielder Alex Pendergast told the station.
“If we had some standing and some kneeling, it’s not as big of a deal. But to show that our whole team came together and kneeled, I think it makes a very big impact.”
The players in Des Monies had the backing of school administrators.