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Players Kneel During National Anthem at Proctor High School Football Game

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Kneeling during the National Anthem is trickling down to the local level. Several Nottingham Bulldog high school players took a knee before their football game against Proctor in Utica.

On the opposite side of the field, the entire Proctor team remained standing.

Marcus Derby was among the players who took a knee before the Proctor game and it isn’t the first time he’s done so.  However, this is the first time he’s speaking out. He told it’s a “peaceful protest” he wanted to make after hearing about Kaepernick kneeling on the San Francisco 49ers side lines. It caused quite a reaction when the story went viral.

It wasn’t meant for anyone to feel offended. I was doing it because I feel all people should be recognized and noticed. It felt good about the exchange of opinions. I feel like people don’t get their voice across. I feel more people should start standing up for what they believe in.  That’s what America stands for. When we believe in something, we fight for it. And I was just fighting for what I believe in.

Derby’s fight is getting bigger as 65 Nottingham alumni are kneeling with him in a letter sent to the editor of

We’re proud of you for your courage. You’re spreading a message many don’t want to hear, but need to. If these athletes taking a knee bothers you more than another murder, then you are who we are all protesting. Your lack of value for black life is exactly why #BlackLivesMatter was created. Our brothers and sisters who are taking a stand by taking a knee are fighting for freedom and equality — the very thing our brothers and sisters in the armed forces are fighting for.

Read the entire letter and list of names at

You can appreciate what these players, pro and high school, are trying to do, but protests can be made without being disrespectful. Take a page from the Seattle Seahawks, who stood with arms locked in unity on September 11th.

A classy statement is heard louder than a brash one.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
Getty Images

Which side of the argument are you on? Kneeling during the National Anthem to make a statement or standing in unity?

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