Entire Seattle high school football team kneels during national anthem before game

The entire Garfield High School football team kneels during national anthem before their game against West Seattle tonight. (Photo courtesy of Seattle Times/Dean Rutz)

The entire Garfield High School football team kneels during national anthem before their game against West Seattle tonight.
(Photo courtesy of Seattle Times/Dean Rutz)

SEATTLE — The entire Garfield High School football team, including the coaches, took a knee during the national anthem Friday night before their game against West Seattle High on Friday night to protest “social injustices.”

Our news partner The Seattle Times captured the action on video:

After the game, which Garfield won, Garfield High School head football coach Joey Thomas said that "the players decided to do this" to bring attention to "social injustices," emphasizing that it was "a player-driven" move and that his players plan to continue the practice during the anthem before every game "until they tell us to stop."

Here is an interview with head coach Joey Thomas:

About four or five players on the West Seattle High School team also knelt during the anthem at the Southwest Athletic Complex in the West Seattle area.

Seattle Public Schools issued the following statement:  “Students kneeling during the national anthem are expressing their rights protected by the First Amendment. Seattle Public Schools supports all students' right to free speech.”

The recent public protests during the national anthem at sports events began a couple of weeks ago when San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. After receiving some criticism that he was disrespecting the flag, Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem. Several other NFL players have also begun kneeling during the anthem.

This is believed to be the first time that an entire high school football team knelt during the anthem.