Several Ole Miss players knelt during the national anthem. pic.twitter.com/AU2OiWcC6F
— Neal McCready (@NealMcCready) February 23, 2019
The saddest thing about what Devontae Shuler, a basketball player for Ole Miss, did last Saturday was to try to explain why he took a knee during the National Anthem to a nation that knows exactly why he did it and is anxious to change the subject.
Devontae Shuler did it because white supremacists and other racists felt empowered to march on the university.
“I felt like I needed to stand up for my rights for righteousness sake,” Shuler tells the New York Times in his first extended interview. “My emotions were just for the students. I didn’t want anything to happen with us playing that game while the protest was going on. I felt like I couldn’t pass that moment by without making a difference.”
We know. We all know.
“I already knew once I went down, after the anthem was over, I’d be there with my teammates,” Shuler tells the paper. “Once I got up, I didn’t think about it. I got it off my chest, and honestly, I started playing better. I was nervous, but I had to overcome it. That was something I wanted to do.”
He and his teammates did not take a knee in last night’s game, having already made the point, shifting the burden to the wider world to make a choice about whom they’re going to stand with when racism comes calling.