Oakland School District Honor Band Protests During National Anthem at A's Game - NBC Bay Area

Oakland School District Honor Band Protests During National Anthem at A's Game

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    Members of the Oakland Unified School District's Honor Band protested during its own rendition of the national anthem before Monday night's Oakland Athletics game at the Coliseum. Terry McSweeney reports. (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    Members of the Oakland Unified School District's Honor Band protested during their own rendition of the national anthem before Monday night's Oakland Athletics game at the Coliseum.

    The protest, which saw most of the musicians drop to a knee during the anthem, came just days after President Donald Trump suggested that NFL players should be fired or suspended if they fail to stand for the anthem.


    Those comments spurred hundreds of NFL players across the league to sit, hoist fists into the air, kneel or outright not show up for the national anthem during Sunday's slate of games.

    The school band is made up of more than 100 students from at least five schools in the district. Some students said before the protest they planned to do more than kneel.

    "I plan to put my fists in the air for black power, Black Lives Matter," student Qai S. said. "I plan to do that because I'm a black, young fellow. I want to support all the other black people in the world. It's not fair how they were shot and killed."

    Other students said they wanted to kneel in solidarity with NFL players who locked arms or knelt Sunday at games across the nation.

    Music Director Randy Porter said he told the students the school supports them, whether they decide to stand or kneel while playing the national anthem.

    The band's protest won't be its first. Most of the members took a knee last year after they wrapped up "The Star-Spangled Banner" before an A's game.

    That move by the band came weeks after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick initially refused to stand for the anthem in protest of racial injustice and police brutality — a decision that sparked other athletes across the sports world to also protest.

    The band was not alone in protesting. A's catcher Bruce Maxwell on Saturday became the first MLB player to take a knee for the national anthem. He dropped down once again on Sunday and was expected to keep up with his protest moving forward.

    NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.

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