All eyes were on the Bonnabel High School's football team before Friday's game against Landry Walker. But it wasn’t game, it was something happening all across the United States: Athletes kneeling during the national anthem to try and spotlight racial injustice.
It is controversial, but many fans said that they supported the protest. Many wondered if the Bonnabel players would again take a knee during the national anthem before the game. Fans came to Friday night's game ready to cheer on their team. But what really had people talking was what happened before players even took the field.
"I understand that these kids are not trying to disrespect the military branches, not trying to disrespect police officers or anything of that sort, it’s all about bringing awareness,” said one man who is an alumni of Bonnabel.
“They are not doing anything disrespectful. They are not doing anything violent. This is non-violent. So I stand behind them. This is how they feel. This is how they want to bring awareness to the situation…to bring it to light, then I’m going to stand behind them 100 percent as an alumnus and as a black man.”
It started last week with a picture showing Bonnabel’s football team kneeling during the national anthem. Many wondered if they'd do it again.
"To see kids actually do something about it, to me that is big," said another attendee.
"Who else is doing it? So when you say they are making difference, of course, because it is noticed right now. You have news cameras here, you have people here paying attention to it. So to say they are not making difference would be like you don’t see it. And everyone has seen it. Shout out to those coaches and that team to make that statement. I respect it."
As the song began one player kneeled -- a stance some fans say they approve of.
Janet Tobias came to praise the football team's actions. "I don't have a son playing on the football team. I don’t have anyone playing with the band or attending the school, but I fully support what they are doing."
And says she hopes more people will get involved in the conversation.
“I stand for the police officers the ones who are doing right. But as a mother of three, black lives also matter.”