Rockford Auburn Head Coach Dan Appino
Rockford Auburn Head Coach Dan Appino

(9-27-17) Rockford (Illinois) Auburn Head Football Coach Dan Appino doesn’t appreciate the opposition fans watching his team during the playing of the National Anthem this season.

Appino told the Rockford Register-Star on Wednesday:

“My wife sits at the top of the stands and almost every game there are people on the other side looking at our kids to see whether they are standing or kneeling instead of paying attention to the anthem themselves. At some point, we need to look at what defines patriotism.

“If we don’t allow civil protest, doesn’t that mean the next option is uncivil protest?”

According to the Matt Trowbridge story, the Knights will not kneel during the national anthem this season as the team honors a teammate who was murdered last year and will stand to honor his memory.  Last season the Knights received national attention after a picture of six Knights’ players, who were kneeling during the National Anthem, went viral on social media.

Shaun King

In Florida, Glades Central Head Football Coach Jessie Hester told CBS12 he would support a decision by his players to kneel during the national anthem, but would want to explain why they are doing it first

In North Carolina, Durham Public Schools issued the following statement on a possible protest by players:

“Freedom of speech and expression are valued by DPS (Durham Public Schools) and are generally protected by law as long as they do not disrupt the academic environment. We will continue to open our athletic events with the anthem to honor our nation. We will also honor our athletes’ First Amendment right to stand or kneel as their consciences dictate.”

In Tennessee, Cane Ridge Football Coach Eddie Woods told the Tennessean:

“I’m just going to show my support to the kids either way. There are so many things. Even the (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) issue, a lot of our students are affected by that, and these players are friends with a lot of those kids.”

Another coach from Tennessee, West Creek’s James Figueroa,  tells the newspaper:

“We have a lot of ties to the military with Fort Campbell right down the road and I told our players we aren’t the NFL. We will stand and respect the flag and our national anthem. This is something we teach our kids at the beginning of the season.”

“We are not giving our kids the option to kneel. It’s not going to be an option. This is what our expectations are at West Creek High.”

There seems to be more HS football coaches who are not concerned either way what their players will do during the National anthem before the game. The NFL actions that took place last week, after President Trump’s comment on kneeling, is now influencing high school players. The reaction of fans this weekend around the country will be something that will be interesting to follow.