Gyree Durante, an Albright College football player was dismissed from the team for kneeling during the National Anthem before Saturday’s game against Delaware Valley University. Albright College is a Division III program based in Reading, Pennsylvania. A statement from a school spokesperson was given to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com who said the Lions’ leadership council voted to stand during the national anthem and Durante opted to kneel by himself, leading to his exit from the team.
“The football team made a team-wide decision to both kneel during the coin toss and stand during the national anthem,” the statement read. “This action, which was supported by the coaching staff, was created as an expression of team unity and out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences. It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views.”
Durante was the backup quarterback at the college. He played in two of the team’s six games so far this season, having completed three of his eight pass attempts for 35 yards and a touchdown.
The sophomore told David Chang and Aaron Baskerville of NBC Philadelphia he was protesting against “social injustices and racism” in the United States.
“At some point in life, there’s going to be a time when you’ve got to take a stand,” Durante said. “For me it just happened to be on Saturday afternoon.
He went on to further state: “I was just taught you fight for what you believe in and you don’t bow to anyone. I believe heavily in this. So I decided to fight for it.”
Durante’s dismissal comes just days after Vice President Mike Pence left the Indianapolis Colts game after players refused to stand for the national anthem. Roger Goodell commissioner of the National Football Leauge has since released a statement regarding players kneeling.
“We believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. … We want to honor our flag and our country and our fans expect that of us.”
Stay tuned for further updates on this breaking news story.