LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- High school football teams took the field Friday across the metro for the first time since hundreds of NFL players took a knee during the National Anthem last weekend in protest.
At Leavenworth High School, where players normally remain in the locker room for the National Anthem, the mother of Senior Captain Cody Terrell said he requested the team to be on the field, not to kneel, but to stand and honor America on Military Appreciation Night.
“We’re not going to not do what we’ve done historically because of all the issues that are going on right now in the country," Leavenworth Athletic Director James Vanek explained.
Clarence Holmes watched as his daughter practiced folding the flag with the Junior ROTC. He also watched last weekend, when more than 200 NFL players took a knee protesting racism in America.
“When we had football games you only kneeled when one of the players got hurt, kneeling now because of the flag I think is kind of silly," Holmes said.
After the anthem, the Pioneers ran through the tunnel afterwards waving an American flag. Terrell, whose brother is a United States Marine, was at the front of the pack.
“That flag stands for the idealism of what freedom is supposed to be, it’s not perfect but it’s there," his mother Elisha said.
At Kansas City Public Schools, players are usually on the field for the National Anthem. Some have taken a knee previously. It's unclear whether any did Friday night. However KCPS Spokesperson Natalie Allen said players were free to express themselves.