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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas basketball players kneel during the playing of the national anthem prior to an exhibition game against Oklahoma Baptist on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Fayetteville. - Photo by Michael Woods


All members of the University of Arkansas men's basketball team stood for the national anthem before a game Friday night.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Bob Holt said on Twitter that the entire team stood before the Razorbacks' game versus Emporia State, adding they remained "standing a minute or so after anthem ended and got a big ovation from the crowd."

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas' players stand during the national anthem before play against Emporia State's Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, during the first half of play in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

5:20 P.M. UPDATE:

University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz said the intention of women's basketball players who kneeled during the national anthem earlier this week was "not to denigrate the flag, to show disrespect to our veterans or to challenge our freedoms."

Instead, he said, the act at the team's exhibition game Thursday was to raise awareness of "an important issue of concern in our communities."

"While I encourage people to stand during the playing of the national anthem, as I choose to do, I will respect others who exercise free speech guaranteed to them by our Constitution," Steinmetz said in a statement. "Our campus will continue to engage in productive and necessary dialogue until every member of our community feels respected and safe.”

— Brandon Riddle

3:45 P.M. UPDATE:

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson released a statement Friday afternoon after six members of the Razorbacks women's basketball team kneeled during the national anthem before an exhibition game Thursday night.

“By standing at attention when our national anthem is played, we show honor and respect to all of those who sacrificed everything to protect the freedoms we enjoy today — including the right to express our opinions," the governor wrote in an email.

"I hope to understand more fully the message these young ladies were trying to convey, but I would encourage student athletes to find ways to both respect the flag and to engage in public debate on issues they care about."

— Brandon Riddle


FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said the university is backing six women's basketball players who kneeled during the national anthem before an exhibition game Thursday.

Players Jordan Danberry, Tatiyana Smith, Kiara Williams, Jailyn Mason, Yasmeen Ratliff and Briunna Freeman, who are all black, locked arms and kneeled as the anthem played and a color guard presented the U.S and Arkansas flags.

"Recently you all know that there's been a lot of killings from police officers of African-Americans and other minorities," Danberry said. "Me and my teammates took a kneel today during the national anthem to speak for those who are oppressed. As Razorback student-athletes we have a platform to do that."

After Arkansas' 79-32 win over Oklahoma Baptist, Razorbacks coach Jimmy Dykes said he'd met with the players several times to discuss their plans to protest.

"They had very, very strong, well-informed, educated opinions based on their real life experiences, their real life emotions," Dykes said. "I am very, very proud of them."

Many Arkansas fans took to social media to express their dismay over the protest, and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson retweeted a post from a state lawmaker who called the players' protest disrespectful.

But Long, a former chairman of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, defended the players' right to protest. He said the athletic department would stand behind the players' right to free speech.

"University campuses are places of learning and thus places where differences of opinion and varying perspectives are recognized," Long said in a statement. "We respect the rights of our student-athletes and all individuals to express themselves on important issues in our nation."

— The Associated Press


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  • Dontcallmenames
    November 4, 2016 at 12:10 p.m.

    Whether you agree or disagree, the best way to tell the U of A is with your wallet. If you agree, go to the games and donate money. If you disagree, stay away from the games and cease your donations.

  • glh05230944
    November 4, 2016 at 12:50 p.m.

    These women are very lucky to live in a nation whose constitution allows them the freedom to disrespect their nation's anthem without fear of reprisal.

  • JiminyC56
    November 4, 2016 at 12:52 p.m.

    I have been to 2 razorback football games this year(bama and ole miss) and I didn't see any disrespectful displays such as this. As a matter of fact everyone in the stadium stood several times during the game when they brought out various veterans to honor. I am going to the Florida game and if I see any of this stuff going on I will never set foot on my alma mater until these disrespectful displays are stopped. Also will not renew my season tickets and they won't see another dime of my money and my children will be steered to another university that respects the flag and national anthem.

  • JakeTidmore
    November 4, 2016 at 12:55 p.m.

    David Morris 2005 Altrenet:
    The message of the Second Commandment is clear. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..."

    Can anyone deny that the American flag has achieved the status of a graven image?

    The contention that flag worship is blasphemy was a key element before the Supreme Court in 1940. In that case it upheld the right of a Pennsylvania school district to expel two students who refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The two teenagers were members of the Jehovah's Witness denomination. Their church believed that pledging allegiance to the flag violated the Biblical admonition (Exodus 20) against worshipping or bowing down to any graven image of God. The court decided that the need for national security and national unity allowed Congress to force individuals to violate the Ten Commandments.

    In 1943, the Supreme Court reversed its 1940 decision. That reversal probably had less to do with religion than with the Court's realization that, at the height of a war against totalitarian regimes, a central feature of which was a slavish devotion to national symbols, compelling us to worship the flag was inapt. (As a side note, that same year the Flag Code itself was changed. No longer were students required to salute the flag with one arm extended forward. The similarity to the Nazi salute was too embarrassing. From that time onwards, we were told to put our hands over our hearts.)

    The evidence that we literally worship the flag is overwhelming. Unique among all nations, we have a Flag Day, a Flag code etiquette, a national anthem dedicated to the flag and a verbal salute to the flag. Twenty-seven states require school children to salute the flag daily.

    Some might argue that we are simply saluting a symbol, that we are actually pledging allegiance to our country. But the words tell a different story. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of American, and to the republic for which it stands." The insertion of the word "and" makes clear that the flag and the republic are two different entities. We are pledging allegiance to the flag itself.

    If further evidence is needed, consider these words from the Congressionally enacted U.S. Flag code (Title 36 USC 10, PL 344). "The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing."

    Our national anthem, sung at every sporting event and increasingly, at every mass political gathering, is the only one I know that focuses its devotion solely on a flag. "And the rockets' red glare / the bombs bursting in air / gave proof through the night that our Flag was still there." Congress has repeatedly thwarted attempts to substitute the eminently more singable and entirely more fitting song, "America the Beautiful," for "The Star Spangled Banner."

  • GrimReaper
    November 4, 2016 at 1 p.m.

    So many much drivel!

  • HerrValkyrie
    November 4, 2016 at 1:04 p.m.

    Agree with JiminyC56 wholeheartedly! These immature/uninformed girls don't have a clue about "oppression." You don't use state funded programs to make your statement. If they feel so strongly about their cause, then they should volunteer their time and effort to make change on their own time and not the school's time (taxpayers dime). If a stunt like this is pulled by the Razorback football team and Coach B condones it, the whole program can go to hell.

  • dunk7474
    November 4, 2016 at 1:25 p.m.

    JakeTidmore should try another country, we sure don't want to force him to live in America. So Jakie, get off your butt and get out.

  • haphog
    November 4, 2016 at 1:37 p.m.

    Jake Skidmore......glad he is not my neighbor. I agree 100% with JiminyC56. I have lost respect for Jeff Long and Jimmy Dykes. Sure makes it easy to support teams who play against our PC, dumbed-down, spoiled, uninformed students. This really drives the racial divide. No support for any Razorback activity until this is stopped.

  • mrcharles
    November 4, 2016 at 2:10 p.m.

    Ah the Judea -christian speakers of love & mercy.

    Glh...& dumb. Great to see tolerance from the right. What u need to do is publish this to help out recruiting of an all white team. Or be honest enough to confront them in person..but for your inner cowardice types u either pick on children or the old.

    As to those who decide what I think or that I should follow your flatulence to leave the country. First I have to respect opinion of such people who were involved in the famous photo of good citizens of Arkansas screeching at those dangerous black children glad their mom taught them well

    Glh.. retaliation like what? Like the 3 civil rights workers inMississippi?

    I suggest ewe all stay home & bleach your sheets.

    Go to hell... why such a fine fine statement. But think you misspelled HEIL!

  • Skeptic1
    November 4, 2016 at 2:19 p.m.

    He needs to take his P.C. garbage elsewhere. That school receives federal money and many of its student have died defending those spoiled brat's right to be disrespectful of their sacrifice. Contrary to what out-of-touch liberal college professors are teaching, it is not cool to spit on the Flag, it is not cool to say only black lives matter, it is not cool to kill police, and it is not cool to ignore black-on-black nightly murders. If that school wants to show disrespect for our military then it's time to cancel those season tickets and put away the check book.