Prior to the start of the annual Magic City Classic game versus rival Alabama State on Saturday, several Alabama A&M football players were spotted kneeling during the national anthem.
A small group of players knelt while locking arms in a fashion similar to demonstrations which have taken place during sporting events over the last calendar year — an act started by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in protest of racial injustice and police violence.
They are the first known group of Division 1 football players this season to engage in the pregame protest.
The act comes on the heels of Alabama A&M coach James Spady saying earlier this month that he supported the athlete-led silent protests.
“As a college football team, we are in the locker room when the national anthem is played,” said Spady. “I’m on record saying that I believe in the flag and what it stands for. But, I also believe what Colin was protesting, and what those other players were protesting — it had nothing to do with the flag. And at the end of the day, until we hurry up and recognize why they were protesting, then this thing is going to get out of hand.”