NFL players are showing sports teams from the high school level to the professional level that it is okay to not honor the national anthem. While they are kneeling to spread awareness around police brutality and racial injustice in the United States, players are causing quite a stir with their choice method of protest. Because they are taking a knee during the pregame playing of the national anthem, opponents are accusing them of disrespecting America and the flag. Because the anthem is the call to action for the American military and the flag is the symbol of what the country stands for, millions of people are upset that the NFL players are choosing to protest the anthem. And when a Virginia Tech basketball coach realized that his players were disrespecting the national anthem, he took it upon himself to straighten them up – and he did it in front of a camera to gain attention on the national news.
Coach Buzz Williams is not the kind of guy you’d want to cross. And when he saw his entitled players disrespecting the national anthem, he took time out of his busy schedule to make it abundantly clear that the players should not do that. He taught them why it was disrespectful and they listened to him.
Because some players chose not to stand, he made it a point to teach them about who really did earn the chairs.
“We didn’t earn those chairs,” Coach Williams tells his players, pointing to the bench.
He went on to teach them about how hard the servicemen and women in the United States military worked to provide the freedom for these young men to play basketball.
“Your talent didn’t earn those chairs. How tall you are and how fast you run, how well you shoot, didn’t earn those chairs. Me drawing up a play, me recruiting real hard, me working real hard, I didn’t earn the chair. These guys, when they were your age, interrupted their life. They paused their education. They changed their career. And they gave their life for those chairs. Do you guys understand what I’m saying? Not us, not us. And so when the anthem is played, we’re going to stand like grown men, and we’re going to honor men like this that gave their life so we can have a chair to sit in.”
At this point, Williams instructs his players to stand during the anthem. But not only that, he tells them that they have to stand at attention like they’re saluting the flag. And he wants them to remember not to take their freedom for granted just because it is a basic right in America. Other countries are not so lucky.
“And then the two-and-a-half minutes that the song is played, or somebody sings it, we’re going to stand at attention and honor these men. We’re not going to sway back and forth. We’re not messing with our shorts, we’re not messing with our jersey,” he said.
Watch Coach Williams teach his players about respecting the anthem in the video below!