Proviso East Football Team Takes a Knee; ‘We want to do what’s right,’ Coach Says

Saturday, October 7, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: The Proviso East varsity football team kneels during the National Anthem on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 | Photo submitted

The entire Proviso East High School varsity football team and coaching staff joined with demonstrators across the country on Saturday when they knelt during the National Anthem before their homecoming game against the visiting Proviso West Panthers.

The Pirates lost 43-12, but the action on the field doesn’t compare to the bigger picture, said Proviso East head football coach DeWan White.

“This is more than just a game,” said White during a Saturday night phone interview. “We want to do what’s right and win at life. This game can only last for so long.”

White said that the demonstration was in response to a statement made by President Donald Trump last month about NFL players, some of whom have taken to kneeling during the National Anthem out of protest against the abuse by police of African Americans.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b– off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.'”

In response, some owners of NFL teams demonstrated with their players before games following the president’s remarks, with an increasing number of people across the country getting in on the dissent.

Last week, a portion of the Oak Park and River Forest High School varsity football team, in addition to some members of the marching band, knelt during the National Anthem.

“There’s no law stating that you have to stand for the anthem,” said White. “I think Trump is saying you can play and make this money as long as you stand up for the anthem.”

White said that every member of his team and coaching staff took a knee except for one elderly assistant coach who couldn’t kneel because of physical ailments. White added that the team demonstrated with the full support of Proviso East Principal Patrick Hardy.

“I just want to let them know and learn and understand that we don’t have to accept any and everything from politicians,” White said. “We have freedom of choice. This is America. We have that right. No one is breaking any laws by exercising that right.” 

White said that “there’s a strong possibility” that the team will kneel before its last two remaining games this season. VFP

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7 thoughts on “Proviso East Football Team Takes a Knee; ‘We want to do what’s right,’ Coach Says”

  1. I agree, but what about when the kids disrespect the coach by using profanity toward the coach’s and throw uniforms at the coach, but the kid don’t receive discipline. We must not show our kids double standards, when it comes to disrespect, put things in order.

  2. I don’t have a problem with the team exercising their first amendment right, as for disrespect goes, back in 1918 the anthem was put into baseball for the first time ever in sports, it was done so, to boost ticket sales for Cubs vs red Sox. Not for the troops, not for the country and not for the people, just for boosting sales profits. I read this year’s ago, but you can find a very diluted version in the New York post. Google Cubs vs Boston 1918 anthem. So, lets start looking at the roots of things before judging them. Much love to all.

    1. Here’s the difference between what we’re seeing on the NFL sidelines and the Proviso East Football Team’s sideline. Maybe you’ve noticed that while there are NFL players and coaches who kneel out of personal conviction during the national anthem, there are others on the very same teams who stand due to their personal convictions. Many, though standing, will lock arms in support of their kneeling team mates – perhaps as a way of mitigating two important convictions – and others stand without locking arms. You know what I have not seen? I have not seen the kind of apparent solidarity which is depicted in the photograph above where every single person on the sideline is demonstrating such a unified protest. Call me a cynic, but I don’t believe for a second that it’s humanly possible to get that many teen-aged men and their coaches to agree so singularly on such a complex and personal issue. Again, call me a cynic, but the gross uniformity evidenced in the photo wreaks of coercion. I played high school football, and everyone who has ever played high school football knows that on a high school football team (in such a way so as to be unlike any other sports team) in EVERYTHING there are ALWAYS only two choices for any athlete, equipment manager, or even assistant coach: my way (the Head Coach’s way) or the highway. I don’t believe for a second that every single young man in that photo (nor even every coach) on that team believes he was doing “what’s right.” The most significant thing about the homecoming game wasn’t the margin by which East lost to West. We all got that score. There was a far more disastrous loss that night, and the score was incalculable.

  3. As the country becomes, unfortunately, more divided I think it is more important than ever to show unity towards the flag, respect for the military and national respect and pride. We may have our differences internally but this is one thing we should stay united on. For all of us this is our only country and rich or poor, black, white or brown the best place most of us could ever think to be. I really wish people would think more along these lines

    1. Unfortunately not all people think this way, and that is why they are shining a light on the problem. These people don’t have internal problems, they are external. Is sounds more like, just shut up and take it. Not all people want to stick their heads in the sand. We all love our country, and are aware of those who fell in the struggles of freedom. It’s our duty to challenge those who trample on the civil rights of the people, so that their sacrifices will no be in vain. We should unite, but this can not be so if we can’t see the tribulations of the people around us. Much love to all.

      1. sisco kid,

        Great point! You’re exactly right, and I totally agree with you. That team photo above looks to be of a team where every person has been told to “stick their heads in the sand” and “just shut up and take it.”

        I’m with you, “It’s our duty to challenge those who trample on the civil rights of the people.” Every person should have the right to express their own opinion!

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