Basketball team forfeits game due to multiple player suspensions for kneeling during National Anthem

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BLUEFIELD, VA– Back in the middle of February, a NAIA school in Virginia forfeited its men’s basketball game after suspending players for kneeling during the national anthem for several games in January and February.

According to reports, in a statement after the forfeit, Bluefield College president David Olive said that after players had knelt before multiple games in January and February, even after he told them to stop, he decided to suspend all athletes involved.

The suspensions resulted in a forfeit of the NAIA Appalachian Athletic Conference game against Reinhardt. Olive said in his statement:

“The basis for my decision stemmed from my own awareness of how kneeling is perceived by some in our country and I did not think a number of our alumni, friends, and donors of the College would view the act of kneeling during the anthem in a positive way.”

Reportedly, Olive said became aware on February 1st that players had knelt during a January 30th home game against Bryan College as well as during away games on January 23rd and January 26th.

After he became aware of this, he told head coach Richard Morgan that kneeling during the national anthem “would not be allowed going forward.”

Olive said he later learned that players continued to kneel at a February 2nd game and the team was kept in the locker room during the national anthem at an away game on February 4th.

Olive then said he reached out on February 5th regarding the kneeling and suggested alternative forms of protest such as staying in the locker room. After the team knelt during a home game on February 9th, Olive said:

“There would be consequences for the actions of the players for violating the College policy.”

According to Bluefield football player Jewels Gray, who is close with many members of the basketball team, this stands in direct contrast with what the basketball team was told before the season began.

Gray discussed the suspensions with the players and said that the players said they were told they were not allowed to released a statement of their own or speak to the media. Gray said:

“Why would our school contradict what they said? We had meetings before the season with the athletic director and the president and they stated that we can kneel and they’d support and be behind us, 100 percent.”

A Bluefield College spokesman denied Gray’s statement and said neither Olive nor Tonia Walker ever offered approval for student-athletes to kneel during the anthem.

Reportedly, Olive reached out to Morgan and the team to discuss the protests, saying that he understood their message and supported calls for racial justice, but that he did not condone doing so during the national anthem.

In a statement, he said:

“I further told them that their intended message in bringing awareness of racial injustices was being diluted or completely lost because some saw their act of kneeling as being disrespectful to the flag, our country, and to our veterans.

In my opinion, their message was not being heard.”

Olive said players told him they had no intention of being disrespectful and shared personal stories of racism they had faced. In response, Olive said the campus leadership team was actively working on a forum to discuss racial inequality.

He said:

“It does without saying that this has been a challenging process for all parties involved. I have hard and I understand the perspective of our players as to why they desire to kneel during the national anthem.

I also know this form of protest immediately shuts down a number of individuals from listening to the intended message because of their perspective regarding the flag.”

He added:

“No individual’s sincere motives are inherently wrong, but I continue to contend that we will not get to where we want and need to get as a country in addressing these racial issues without making honest attempts at creating pathways that bring people together for a common cause.”

In response to his statement, the students inquired about their First Amendment rights being violated, but he informed the players that those rights did not apply to this situation.

Athletes from the men’s and women’s basketball team, football team, and women’s soccer team all joined a video conference discussion arguing that their First Amendment rights had been violated and discussed ways to address the school’s policy. In response, Olive said:

“We are a private entity, not a governmental entity.

We have policies and guidelines throughout the student handbook and the academic catalog that limit certain rights you otherwise might have elsewhere, such as in your home or in a public venue.”

He added:

“The most important to me as it pertains to this matter, however, is what I shared earlier.

When someone puts on a uniform or is performing a function on behalf of Bluefield College, that person is now representing Bluefield College. Heightened expectations are now placed on that individual as to what s/he can and cannot do or say as a representative of the College.”

Players have since decided to stay in the locker room during the national anthem for the rest of the season rather than risk additional forfeitures. Forward Stanley Christian said in a statement:

“It’s bigger than us and we don’t want to have the season taken away from us.

We feel like we’re in a great position to bring this school a title. So, we’ll stay in the locker room during the national anthem. They don’t want any more backlash and we would definitely take a knee during the anthem.”

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NBA celebrates Chinese New Year same week a team stopped playing our national anthem

February 14th, 2021

The following article contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

DALLAS, TX- You honestly cannot make this up. This week, when Dallas Mavericks team owner (can we still call them that?) Mark Cuban said he would no longer have the American national anthem played at home games, the NBA honored China by celebrating the Chinese New Year on Wednesday night, OutKick reports.

We have already witnessed the sheer hypocrisy of players in the NBA, such as Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

James complains about “systemic racism” in the United States and America’s “history of civil rights violations” while at the same time giving China, which is committing genocide against Muslim Uyghurs, a pass.

Probably has nothing to do with the vast amounts of money James is getting by peddling Nike sneakers manufactured by Chinese citizens making slave wages. The hypocrisy is numbing.

While the NBA reversed Cuban’s directive on Wednesday afternoon, the fact that mere hours later the league was honoring the Chinese would have made bad optics. With teams being allowed to readmit fans to their games, albeit at limited capacity, the NBA no doubt realized it would be a bad look to have a team ban the Star Spangled Banner while holding China up for recognitions.

The confluence of events came to the attention of OutKick founder Clay Travis on Thursday by Brennon Chapman, former off-field assistant for Old Miss. Travis wrote a tweet, saying: “The jokes write themselves.”

After Cuban made the announcement that he was banning the National Anthem at Dallas home games, Clay took to the airwaves on “OutKick The Show” Wednesday and tweeted the episode, commenting:

“Are they going to fine the Dallas Mavericks if they don’t play the national anthem? Is this really a dispute that the NBA wants to enter? It’s a disaster for the league and further cements them as a far left wing liberal hypocritical league.”

Breitbart New reported that the Brooklyn Nets celebrated the Lunar New Year as well, and brought in Chinese actor Hou Minghao to serve as the Brooklyn Nets Lunar New Year Ambassador.

A release from NBA Communications referred to Chinese New Year celebrations as a chance for the league to “pay tribute to its largest international fanbase.”

If that isn’t enough, the league plans to have their teams wear special “Chinese New Year uniforms” in the coming weeks, which Breitbart was told will “pay tribute to Chinese culture.”

In announcing the Brooklyn Nets honoring the Chinese New Year, NBA communications said the game would share “Lunar New Year trivia” and Happy New Year wishes featuring various Nets players on their respective social media channels.

It wasn’t made clear if the trivia would include questions such as:

“How many Uyghurs have you put in concentration camps this year?” Or how about, “How much money have you sent to the Biden family in the past few years?”

You know, questions like that.

The release said that the game on Wednesday was “part of the NBA’s 10th Lunar New Year league-wide campaign to celebrate the most important annual holiday in China.”

This is the same NBA, by the way, who in the summer put on a show by wearing “social justice” messages on their uniforms, while ignoring the human rights abuses going on in China.

James has been especially obnoxious, never missing a chance to slam law enforcement, accusing cops of “systemic racism” and “hunting down black men” while putting his hands out to rake in Chinese money, people who ACTUALLY engage in human rights abuses.

In other words, he, along with the rest of the NBA players, are a bunch of hypocrites.

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Last year, we reported on conservative Candace Owens slamming James for inflammatory rhetoric which she said led to the ambush of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. For more on that, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

LOS ANGELES, CA – A conservative author is pointing to a professional athlete for answers in the aftermath of yet another targeted attack on police. 

On Sunday, popular conservative commentator Candace Owens took to Twitter to rip into celebrities, including Lebron James, and other well-known Black Lives Matter activists for their “hyperbolic, dishonest rhetoric.” 

Her passionate post followed the ambush of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on Saturday night. 

The pair was sitting in a patrol car outside a Metro Station when just after 7 p.m., a gunman ran up to the car and opened fire. 

Both have head injuries and are in critical condition. 

They are reported to be a 24-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman, who is the mother of a 6-year-old. 

As the sheriff released video of the attack and the search for the shooter began, an outpouring of support followed on social media. 

However, Owens demanded more than “thoughts and prayers.” She wants Lebron James held accountable for fueling the “the racist, anti-police, black lives matter.” 

Sunday morning, she tweeted the surveillance video of the shooting with the caption: 

“Why does this happen? Because pea-brained celebrities that are idolized like @KingJames tell young black men that they are “literally being hunted”. This is the natural result of such hyperbolic, dishonest rhetoric. The racist, anti-police, black lives matter LIE is to blame.” 

Five minutes later, she followed with another post that reads: 

“Why else does this happen? Because when pea-brained athletes put the name of an alleged RAPIST on their helmets and jerseys, criminals begin believing they are acting as heroes. BLACK LIVES MATTER AND THE COMPLICIT MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS, ATHLETES, AND ENTERTAINERS ARE TO BLAME.” 

Owens is referencing James past involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement.  

The basketball star has previously been very vocal, both online and in interviews. 

Back in May, he posted about the February killing of Georgia man Ahmaud Arbery. Three white men are now accused of shooting and killing 25-year-old Arbery while he was out for a jog. 

James tweeted: 

“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud(Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the….. heavens above to your family!!” 

The “rapist” allegation in Owens’ tweet appears to reference the more recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

Police shot Blake last month during an attempted arrest. 

He was previously accused of sexually assaulting and harassing his ex-girlfriend. 

Owens is not the only one bringing Lebron James into the conversation after Saturday’s ambush on law enforcement. 

On the John Phillips Show on KABC Radio, LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the reward money in the hunt for the killers has reached $175,000, which came as a combination of donations of $100,000 from the county and two separate donations of $25,000 and $50,000 from two private individuals.

While on the show, Sheriff Villanueva wanted to up the ante, so he openly challenged NBA star LeBron James to match and double the reward money being offered for information on the gunman who ambushed and shot the two deputies. 

Villanueva said:

“This challenge is to Lebron James. I want you to match that and double that reward,

“I know you care about law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African-American community.”

He continued

“And I appreciated that,

“But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across all professions.”

LeBron James has been one of the most outspoken celebrity athletes on the topic of racism and justice reform. He never shies away from a chance to call out police for various situations.  After the shooting of Jacob Blake in August, James said Black people in America are “terrified” of police misconduct.

Following a Lakers game, James said:

“I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America,

“Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified.”

Some of his earlier tweets also showed frustration with police shootings, saying:

“And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted,

“This s— [sic] is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE.”

It is not known if James is aware of Villanueva’s challenge. 

Villanueva finished by saying:

“Let’s see what he does,” 

“I’ll be very curious to see what his response is, if any.”

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