Gyree Durante, a former back-up quarterback at Division III Alrbright College in Reading, Penn., was cut after he knelt during the national anthem last Saturday afternoon. According to NBC 10 Philadelphia, the decision to cut him was because he went against “a unified decision.”
A spokeswoman for Albright College said in a statement to NBC10 that Durante was kicked off the team for going against a unified decision.
The players made a team-wide decision to kneel during the coin toss and stand during the national anthem before their Oct. 7 game against Delaware Valley University, according to the spokeswoman.
“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,” she wrote. “It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views.”
“At some point in life, there’s going to be a time when you’ve got to take a stand,” Durante told NBC 10. “For me it just happened to be on Saturday afternoon.”
“I was just taught you fight for what you believe in and you don’t bow to anyone,” he continued. “I believe heavily in this. So I decided to fight for it.”
Players kneeling for the national anthem, which started last fall with former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a protest of societal inequalities and police brutality towards black Americans, has become prominent in the NFL, college football, and even Major League Baseball.
“One football player, who unbeknownst to the coach and the team, chose not to support team unity and has been dismissed from the team,” the spokeswoman continued. “He remains a valued member of the Albright College student body.”
Two of Durante’s former teammates, freshmen Stephen Glynn and Josh Powell, told the station he previously agreed to stand for the anthem with the team.
“We trusted him throughout the week, after time and time again he told us he would stand,” Powell said via NBC 10. “When you can’t have a player on a team that you can trust, he’s got to go.”