Protests during the national anthem at the NFL level have trickled down to the high school and college levels. In the aftermath, multiple players have been removed from their team for refusing to stand.
This has already happened with two high school football players at Victory & Praise Christian Academy in Crosby, Texas. Now, it's happened at a Division III school in Reading, Pennsylvania. Per NBC 10 in Philadelphia, Gyree Durante, a now former backup quarterback at Albright College, has been removed from the team after he knelt during the national anthem for the second game in a row.
"I was just taught you fight for what you believe in and you don't bow to anyone," Durante told the news outlet. "I believe heavily in this. So I decided to fight for it."
The team collectively made a decision to kneel during the coin toss and stand during the national anthem ahead of their game against Delaware Valley University on Oct. 7. These actions were recommended by the team's leadership council, which is made up of 24 student-athletes.
"This action, which was supported by the coaching staff, was created as an expression of team unity and out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences," an Albright spokesperson told NBC 10. "It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views."
A continuing statement from Albright said the team "agreed to uphold the council decision, with the understanding that there may be consequences for those who choose not to support the team." A previous statement by the team, obtained by ESPN, was read before the homecoming game against Delaware Valley University.
Inside these white stripes is a perfect world. Inside this space, the game does not care about the color of our skin. It does not care how thick or thin our wallet is, what kind of car we drive or by what name we call God. It only measures us by how hard we work, how well we work together and how quickly we learn from and teach through its lessons. On this field, nothing is given but everything is earned. It is truly a perfect world.
We believe that our role is to expand the dimensions of this field and take those lessons and teachings with us into our classrooms and our dormitories; into this local neighborhood and back home with us to our families, our churches, our communities and into our society as a whole.
We storm this field behind the American Flag as a symbol of our commitment, our unity and the value we place on our freedoms. We both kneel and stand tall out of the mutual respect we have for each other and the value we place on our differences; because we believe that teamwork is not about tolerating our differences, but about valuing them.
We ask all of you to help us expand the dimensions of this field to grow this perfect world outside these stripes."
Albright is a private liberal arts college. Victory & Praise Christian Academy is also private.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently sent a letter out to NFL executives, advising them on the controversy. Additionally, NFL owners will meet over whether standing for the anthem will be mandatory. As of now, it is merely a suggestion.