- Associated Press - Saturday, October 15, 2016

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Southern Illinois University basketball players did some soul-searching before deciding they would stand with hands over hearts during the National Anthem before games this fall.

Senior Salukis opened SIU’s media day Friday by reading a prepared statement in response to the protest over race relations by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has been kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the shooting of black men by white police officers in the U.S.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the statement said players respect the right to protest “but believe the true way for change is coming together as a society.”

Seniors Mike Rodriguez, Sean O’Brien, Leo Vincent and Tyler Smithpeters each read parts of the statement with their teammates standing behind them.

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com

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