Published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on October 5, 2016.

Student athletes at Amherst College are exercising their right to protest and showing their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee during the national anthem.

Three players on the Amherst men’s soccer team kneeled during the national anthem prior to Sunday’s 4-0 home victory against Bates.

Senior Douglass Jamison said that he took a knee to show support for the movement spreading throughout the country.

“I did it for solidarity with the black community,” Jamison said, “once again reinvigorating the conversation about police brutality in this country and just how African-Americans are treated.”

The Arizona native placed his hand over his heart while kneeling. In doing so, he hoped to show that while he loves and supports this country, he still wants better for United States citizens, especially the Black community.

“I am an American, an African-American, black American, I love this country,” Jamison said. “I was born in this country, I’ve had family who have fought for this country, and in that I still believe this country could be better and there are things that this country can work on.”

Jimmy McMillian, a freshman from Maryland, and Ian Fayorsey, a junior from New Jersey, also took a knee during the anthem. The three players plan on kneeling in solidarity and protest for the remainder of the season.

Head coach Justin Serpone along with his staff gave their full support to the players who chose to protest.

“Not only am I supportive but I’m encouraged that that is what young people in our country are doing,” Serpone said. “I think it’s great and they have our total support.”

Players on the Amherst football team have protested in similar ways, showing their solidarity with the movement by kneeling and raising their fists. Jamison said he was inspired to kneel by the movement and discussion that has grown from athletes across the country kneeling during the national anthem.

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