Statement by Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP
DETROIT – The recent attacks on the Denby High School football players during and after the game with some of the Almont High School fans and parents has no place on or off the field. On November 23, 2019, during the Division 5 state semifinal football game, racial slurs, cursing, spitting, and even some punching and pushing occurred. These actions were launched against the black football players from Denby High, a Detroit Public School. Investigations are now being conducted by both school districts. This behavior was according to some, due to the black players taking a knee during the national anthem. This caused some white parents and fans among the Almont supporters to get upset and to start verbal abuse. Perhaps we all need to be reminded that taking a knee is not illegal, un-american, un-patriotic, and certainly not violent. It is quite frankly legitimate and allowable as expressive conduct, and lawful behavior that offers a political opinion. Many suggest it is the constitutional equivalent of free speech. As a matter of fact according to the Supreme Court of the United States in Street vs. New York 1969, “The constitutionality guaranteed freedom to be intellectually diverse or even contrary and the right to differ as to things that touched the heart of the existing order, encompass the freedom to express publicly ones opinion about our flag including those opinions which are defiant or contentious.”
Click here — Keep Your Spit and Your Garbage to Yourself — to read the statement in it’s entirety.