NJ Football Groups Will Let Student-Athletes Take a Knee This Year
The New Jersey Football Coaches Association and the New Jersey Football Officials Association said that teams will be permitted peaceful protests, like taking a knee, during games this season.
Players have been taking knees during the national anthem for several years in protest of police treatment of black people or to make related statements about racial justice. The protests have caused controversy at the local and national levels — with objectors saying they show disrespect for the anthem, the American Flag and U.S. troops.
"Our organizations have engaged in meaningful discussions surrounding the need for persistent self-reflection that addresses the implicit bias of coaches, game officials, student-athletes and parents. We fully recognize that these unconscious prejudices are what make us human," read a statement from the associations.
As a result the two groups said that some may wish to participate in some kind of protest.
“It is fully anticipated that coaches and officials will treat these participants with the utmost dignity and respect as we support and recognize an individual’s freedom to peacefully express their personal, social and political views,” read the joint statement.
A pair of father and son high school football officials, Ernie and Anthony Lunardelli, walked off the field in 2017 after members of one team knelt during the national anthem during a game between Colts Neck and Monroe (Middlesex).
Both later resigned.