The protests during the U.S. national anthem that began in the NFL have spread to other areas.
Gyree Durante, who played football at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, took a knee during the national anthem over the weekend. He said the gesture was to protest perceived racism and injustice in the country.
“I was just taught you fight for what you believe in and you don’t bow to anyone,” Durante told NBC 10 in Philadelphia. “I believe heavily in this. So I decided to fight for it.”
Durante, a second-string quarterback, was cut from the team after his move, the school confirmed.
A spokeswoman for the college told ESPN that Durante was kicked off the team for going against a team-wide decision to stand for the anthem. They made a team decision to kneel for the coin toss and stand for the national anthem, she said.
“This action, which was supported by the coaching staff, was created as an expression of team unity and out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences,” the spokeswoman wrote. “It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views.”
— theGrio.com (@theGrio) October 11, 2017
Durante essentially went against the team’s unified actions, she said.
“One football player, who unbeknownst to the coach and the team, chose not to support team unity and has been dismissed from the team,” she wrote. “He remains a valued member of the Albright College student body.”
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) October 11, 2017
Stephen Glynn and Josh Powell, his former teammates, told NBC10 that he acted in a selfish manner as he broke the team’s trust. However, they could understand where he’s coming from.
“We trusted him throughout the week, after time and time again he told us he would stand,” Powell said. “When you can’t have a player on a team that you can trust, he’s got to go.”
— Terez Owens (@TerezOwens) October 12, 2017
In the game, Albright College lost 41-6 to Delaware Valley University.
“He’s doing well, considering,” Durante’s mother told ESPN after he was cut. “He’s a very strong kid, much stronger than me or my husband would’ve expected. He went to class this morning, so he’s in good spirits. He’s officially a grown man. He made this decision completely on his own.”