Anthem protests continue at Madison high school football games

It's a new high school football season, but in addition to returning players, there's something else that's back:  student-athlete protests during the playing of the national anthem.In the wake of then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick's taking a knee during the anthem to protest police brutality, and the state of race relations in the country, high school athletes followed suit last year.  At one Madison prep game, players from Madison East High School jogged to midfield to punctuate their kneel-down demonstration during the anthem's playing.

Nearly all the members of the Madison West High School football team knelt on the sidelines during the anthem prior to their game with Beloit Memorial High School Aug. 18.

Beloit Memorial fan and spectator Jim Stevens was taken aback.  "To me that's disrespectful of our country and sports basically,"  Stevens says.  All members of Beloit Memorial's team stood during the anthem's playing. 

Madison School District Athletic Director Jeremy Schlitz says the protests are condoned, as long as they are student-directed and take into account the decorum of the event.

"We support them, in kind of exercising their right to this type of expression, as long as it's respectful,"  Schlitz says. 

"I served,"  Steven says of his status as a military veteran.  "To me that's disrespectful to anyone who's ever served in the military, and to our flag."Schlitz says Steven's viewpoint is familiar in the feedback he's received in response to anthem protests at Madison high school football games.  He asks that there be understanding of differing opinions on the protest, as long as they are offered appropriately.

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