The kneel-down protests being held during recent National Football League games appear to be having a trickle-down effect in Maine.
On Monday afternoon, a similar protest was conducted by several members of the Traip Academy girls soccer team prior to a game against Wells High School at Kittery.
According to a Seacoastonline story, nine Traip Academy team members kneeled on the field as the players lined up for “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Several other players remained standing as all of them held hands throughout the singing of the national anthem by Traip Academy junior varsity player Claire Barbour.
The act appears to have come in response to the more than 200 NFL players who reportedly kneeled during the national anthem on Sunday.
The recent trend of NFL player protests elicited a vehement response from President Donald Trump, who on Friday said anyone who kneels during the anthem should lose their jobs.
“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” Trump said.
Seacoastonline reported that Traip Academy junior Beti Stevens, who was among the organizers of the demonstration, said the Rangers wanted to call attention to the continued racial issues that still exist in the United States.
“This isn’t a political issue. It’s not a Trump issue or about us disrespecting veterans; it’s drawing attention to systemic racism in our society,” Stevens said.
According to Barbour, Traip Academy head coach Kristin O’Neill told the players prior to Monday’s game that regardless of who chose to participate, team members should show decorum and support each other’s decision.
“Even though not all of us knelt, we’re still united and everyone was respectful of one another,” Stevens told Seacoastonline. “It’s not about how it’s practiced, it’s about the issue and we hope it opens up some discussion.”
O’Neill said she favored the idea of letting her players voice their social conscience in such a way. She also would support other such demonstrations at any of their other games where the national anthem is played.
“This starts a conversation amongst the team and it gives our players a chance to better understand where each other is coming from,” O’Neill said.
Traip Academy Principal John Drisko was quoted as saying such a protest represents a chance for learning.
“I support our athletes as long as they think through the message,” he told Seacoastonline.