KENNER, Louisiana – A number of Louisiana police officers are refusing to work patrols at Bonnabel High School football games after a majority of players knelt during the National Anthem, taking the gesture from NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
After a photo of football players kneeling during the National Anthem took off on social media, now officers with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office say they will no longer work the voluntary details for the school’s games.
“My understanding is, we’ve had some officers that said they will not work the Bonnabel High football games,” Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand told FOX8 New Orleans who first reported the story.
“I understand why, in light of Colin Kaepernick’s comments, specifically when he says, ‘Cops are getting paid leave for killing people,’” Normand said. “That’s not right, that’s not right by anyone’s standards. The fact of the matter is we risk our lives each and every day for the safety and security of our constituency throughout this country.”
Normand continued to defend his officers who took issue with the kneeling during the National Anthem, saying they have every right to refuse private detail to the high school.
“That is a voluntary detail, so I suspect I will have some officers refuse to work the Bonnabel High School games,” Normand continued. “The same way that the Bonnabel players have every right to kneel during the national anthem, my officers have every right not to volunteer to work the Bonnabel high school football game.”
While Normand said he will not keep his Sheriff’s Office from patrolling for the high school during football games, he also said he’s not going to force officers to do the work when they feel belittled by players.
“That fuels the disappointment in my officers when they see this happen, and I can fully understand their disappointment and frustration,” Normand told FOX8.
“When they’re on the clock and they’re working for me, they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do, because that’s what they’re hired to do,” Normand said. “That’s not what this is – this is a voluntary detail where they volunteer to work this extra detail separate and apart from what they’re hired to do.”
The Jefferson School System Superintendent Isaac Joseph told FOX8 New Orleans that the school district did not have a legal right to punish students who refused to stand for the National Anthem.
“They do have a right, and legally we do not have any right to punish or offer any sanctions against the team or team members,” Joseph said.
The move was first done by Kaepernick, who said he was kneeling because of police violence against black Americans, as Breitbart Sports reported at the time.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said after he knelt for the National Anthem during an NFL game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.