A Muslim student has been removed from a college basketball team in Kansas for shooting baskets during the playing of the national anthem. The student claims he has a “religious objection” to the anthem.
The student, 19-year-old Rasool Samir, is now saying that his civil rights were violated when Garden City Community College, in Garden City, Kansas, removed him from the team, the Associated Press reported.
School officials said that Samir was removed from the team because he didn’t follow a team rule that players must leave the court before the anthem plays, not over his religious beliefs.
Samir, who is no longer a student at the college, filed a complaint with the ACLU claiming that the school violated his First Amendment rights.
“We believe any disciplinary action by GCCC against Mr. Samir for abstaining from the anthem is antithetical to our American values and a violation of his First Amendment rights,” the ACLU said in a statement.
Since being removed from the team, Samir insisted he was not being “disrespectful” toward the national anthem.
The student claimed he did not “mean any disrespect at all to the fans or the flag at last night’s game. I am truly sorry to anyone that felt disrespected, and I am also sorry to the school. I apologize for what happened.”
The ACLU sent a letter to the school on November 9 demanding that the school answer for its actions.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.