While neo-Confederate protesters were marching 1,000 feet away in the Circle, eight Ole Miss men’s basketball players knelt during the national anthem at The Pavilion before the team’s home game against Georgia on Saturday.
Players including KJ Buffen, Devontae Shuler, Terence Davis, Brian Halums, DC Davis, Franco Miller Jr., Luis Rodriguez, Breein Tyree and Bruce Stevens became the first Ole Miss athletes, and the first college basketball players at a major university, to protest during the anthem since NFL players began similar protests against police brutality and racism in 2016.
Head coach Kermit Davis and guard Breein Tyree responded at a press conference following the game, which Ole Miss won 72-71. They confirmed the kneeling was a response to the Confederate protests.
Meanwhile, the Twitter community has been responding throughout the afternoon to the kneeling.
squad. this aint safe nowhere. this definitely aint safe down here. they know it. and they did it anyway. because they love us. because they love themselves. https://t.co/2fwIOGkacK
— Kiese (@KieseLaymon) February 23, 2019
Cannot wait for people to be more mad about Ole Miss basketball players kneeling during the national anthem than racist, hateful protesters.
— Gray Hardison (@BellyoftheBeast) February 23, 2019
Shoutout to the ole miss basketball players that took a knee.
— Aus. (@austuck) February 23, 2019
I am 100% in support of our players’ peaceful protest. The march that is going on is a disgrace and our players took a courageous stand.
— Ole miss 11 (@hottytoddyrebss) February 23, 2019
PROUD of these men. #HottyToddy #OleMiss #kneel pic.twitter.com/9qI6oaBNJn
— wells taylor (@____wells____) February 23, 2019
Of course they did! Can’t blame them when the KKK is protesting outside. The protesters are not from here and didn’t even graduate from college. Go home. You are not welcome in Oxford! Go rebels! We love you no matter what!!
— Barrie Van Cleave (@BBBtennis) February 23, 2019
Freedom of speech and protest is a wonderful thing. Constitutional, even. It defines America. Protest away, gentlemen.
— Bill the IT Architect (@ITArchitectBill) February 23, 2019
The white supremacist marching outside are the same people who tried to keep black students from attending #OleMiss. Damn straight they should kneel. Be grateful that they are willing to play at all.
— Kevin M. Levin (@KevinLevin) February 23, 2019
Do these Ole Miss basketball players realize where the Rebels on the front of their jerseys came from? Yet now they want to kneel
— Bezell (@jariuspierce) February 23, 2019
My husband served 21 years just so these young men could have the freedom to protest. Kneel on young men.
— Christa Lax (@chrixxlax) February 23, 2019
Breein Tyree, one of the players who knelt, responded via his personal Twitter on Saturday night.
To the people that fight for this country, my teammates and I meant no disrespect to everything that you do for us, but we had to take a stand to the negative things that went on today on our campus. #WeNeedChange
— Breein Tyree (@Breety5) February 23, 2019
Check out our full coverage of the weekend protests here.