Officials of East Carolina University are warning members of the college marching band that any protests during the national anthem will not be tolerated.
During the Saturday, October 1 game, up to 19 members of the university band, the Marching Pirates, decided to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Some continued to play the nation’s theme but others stopped playing altogether, Fox Sports reports.
As the band indulged its paean to 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s anti-American anthem protest, fans were less impressed by the band’s actions and many in the stands responded by booing.
The ECU Band was boo’ed loudly during halftime of today’s game. pic.twitter.com/iA2T21XDwd
— Pirate Radio (@pirateradio1250) October 1, 2016
— KWWK-DB (@KWWKRADIO) October 1, 2016
The anti-American protest also did not sit well with some of the school’s administrators. By Monday Dr. William Staub, director of Athletic Bands; Chris Ulffers, director of the School of Music; and Dr. Chris Buddo, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, released an email warning the band not to try the stunt again.
We regret the actions taken by 19 members of the East Carolina University Marching Pirates on game day October 1st felt hurtful to many in our Pirate family and disrespectful to our country. We understand and respect this is an issue where emotions are strong.
The Marching Pirates continue to be fully supportive of all the values the East Carolina University community holds dear.
We have met with the band and the members have collectively reaffirmed their commitment to the unique privilege and responsibility that comes with wearing the uniform of the Marching Pirates.
College is about learning, and it is our expectation that the members of the Marching Pirates will learn from this experience and fulfill their responsibilities. While we affirm the right of all our students to express their opinions, protests of this nature by the Marching Pirates will not be tolerated moving forward.
It is our hope that together we can move past these events and that the Marching Pirates will be part of the healing process, working as one Pirate Nation.
Chancellor Staton also issued a separate statement, but one of a far more equivocal nature filled more with bromides than direct policy statements.
As an institution of higher learning, East Carolina respects the rights of our students, staff and faculty to express their personal views. That is part of the free exchange of ideas on a university campus. 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.
— Michael Prunka (@MichaelPrunka) October 1, 2016
According to Fox News, fans continued to boo the band during the halftime show, as well.
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