The Oakland Unified School District’s Honor Band took a knee while playing “The Star Spangled Banner” at O.co Coliseum on Tuesday night.
“The OUSD Honor Band played the National Anthem before tonight’s Oakland A’s game,” the district’s Facebook page noted. “Toward the end of the song, most of the 155 middle and high school students took a knee in protest against police brutality and unfair treatment of people of color in America. The crowd responded with enthusiastic applause.”
The collective taking of a knee occurred in the outfield right before the band launched into the song’s “and the home of the brave” coda. The “enthusiastic applause” came around the anthem’s end when sports fans invariably start cheering. So, it remains unclear whether spectators cheered because they always cheer at the song’s conclusion or because the students took a political stand by taking a knee.
The group gesture comes in the wake of Colin Kaepernick sitting and kneeling for the national anthem this season. In imitation, some students around the country, but particularly in the Bay Area, imitate the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. All but one member of San Francisco’s Mission High School, for instance, knelt in protest during “The Star Spangled Banner” before a loss on Friday night. The entire team did so the previous game.
Middle school and high school students make up the OUSD Honor Band. The group played the anthem before an A’s game last season, too.
After the student protest, Bob Melvin issued a managerial protest in response to a disputed play in the third inning. The A’s manager ultimately rescinded his protest. The Houston Astros won the game 2-1 in 10 innings. Bay Area baseball fans perhaps protested loudest. The 66-85 A’s drew just 12,139 paid attendees.