- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Only one player from an Illinois university’s football team remained on the sidelines during the national anthem Saturday night after the rest of his team staged a protest.

Millikin University offensive lineman Connor Brewer of Rochester, Illinois, stood by himself on the field during “The Star-Spangled Banner” and ran back to the locker room to join the rest of his team after it ended, the Herald & Review reported.

Millikin assistant athletic director Bryan Marshall said Mr. Brewer, a sophomore, later told Millikin President Patrick White that he felt a duty to stand for the anthem.

“He told him, he did what he felt like he needed to do,” Mr. Marshall told the Herald & Review.

The team voted this month to remain in the locker room during the national anthem after several players’ decision to kneel during the song drew backlash. The team started kneeling during the anthem to protest against racial injustice in America — a movement started in August by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Rather than have our message be misunderstood or misconstrued, we are united in our decision to stay in the locker room until kickoff during which time we will engage in a moment of reflection to personally recognize the sacrifice of so many and renew our commitment to living up to those most important words: ‘with liberty and justice for all,’” the team wrote in a statement, Fox News reported.

“Please let there be no doubt that we have the utmost respect for the sacrifice made by those who served or do serve in our armed forces, including many of our family and friends,” the football team wrote. “Therefore, it is our desire to do nothing that could be viewed as disrespectful of their sacrifice.”

In a statement, Mr. White wrote: “The University supports the right of our students to voice their beliefs and support issues important to them; however, the impact of various responses received to this action caused many to lose sight of the critical issues facing our university and our nation.”

The university said it will begin a series of discussion opportunities on “uncomfortable conversations,” the Herald & Review reported.

The Big Blue football team is expected to stay in the locker room during the national anthem throughout the rest of the season.

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