On Tuesday night as the William and Mary men’s soccer team hosted nationally-ranked North Carolina, three Tribe players kneeled during the pregame national anthem in protest.
One of them, sophomore Antonio Bustamante, was in the starting 11. The other two, senior Jordan Petitt and redshirt sophomore Christian Jones, offered their gestures from the sideline.
It was their first protest of the season. They hadn’t witnessed one by an opponent this season, though the acts are a growing trend on the professional level, sparked by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting down during the anthem in August in the name of racial equality.
The motivation was the same for the W&M trio, which plans to continue kneeling for national anthems.
Bustamante and Petitt, friends from Springfield, each said they were also motivated in part by the recent deaths of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Okla. and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C. Crutcher and Scott were killed by police officers.
“When we have the Pledge of Allegiance, we say, ‘liberty and justice for all,’ and we’re pledging towards the flag,” Petitt said. “For me, the flag is supposed to be a symbol of equality and justice within our country. That may not be the same way other people see the flag. But for me, that is what’s most important and what is symbolic of our country. So when I see that our country is not fulfilling that promise, I’m not going to stand for the flag.”
More to follow.