GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Thousands of people turned out for the ECU game Saturday, but it’s not just what the players did on the field that has people talking.
The national anthem protest that has been critically famed across the country has made its way to ECU.
Nearly 20 band members knelt down during our national anthem while playing their instruments.
Band member Joshua Killian took part in the protest.
He said he only wants peace and hopes this makes a statement.
“There are other protests all around the country, including marching bands, and we thought that it’d be nice to show our solidarity with them and with the professional athletes who are risking their careers for this,” said Killian
But not all agree with Joshua.
Many fans were upset by the protest.
They retaliated, by booing them off the field and every other time they performed.
Some fans like Paul Glocker said the kneeling is a sign of disrespect.
“I think it’s ridiculous because people died for the flag and I think they should at least respect the flag. Put a fist up or something, don’t kneel for the flag,” said Glocker
Other band members expressed their rights by holding up an American flag during the anthem and throughout game day.
Many fans responded aggressively by verbally attacking band members. One band member said they’ll continue to protest if they feel it’s necessary.
ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton issued a statement following the protests.
He said in part, “While we acknowledge and understand the disappointment felt by many pirate fans in response to the events at the beginning of today’s football game. We urge all pirate students, supporters, and participants to act with respect for each other’s views.”
To read the full statement ecu-chancellor-statement