BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Every player on the Cahokia Quarterback Club football team (8 and under) took a knee during the national anthem before a game on Sunday, according to KTVI.
“One of the kids asked me if I saw (people) protesting and rioting in St. Louis. I said yes; I said, ‘Do you know why they are doing it?'” Coach Orlando Gooden said.
Gooden said the player responded, "Because black people are getting killed and nobody's going to jail.”
Gooden, who played football at the University of Missouri, said the kids knew about the Jason Stockley decision.
“I felt like it was a good teaching moment for me to circle the team and have a meeting,” he said.
The coach said he spoke to them about that and other situations that have happened in our country. He then explained why former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem.
“One of the kids asked, ‘Can we do that?’ I said, ‘As long as we know why we're doing it, I don’t have a problem with any of it,'" he said.
When the anthem started, the Cahokia third graders immediately took a knee where they were standing. Their backs were away from the flag — but not on purpose — according to Gooden.
“What I teach my kids is love, integrity, honesty, fairness, respect and boundaries,” he said.
All the parents on the team supported the coach’s decision to take a knee. However, a Facebook post by Gooden’s wife was met with some backlash.
“As long as I have support of my parents and team, I’m perfectly fine, and I'm covered under the First Amendment to peacefully protest and assemble,” Gooden said.