Skip to main content

The Brief: UT Athletes Asked to Stand for National Anthem

University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven hopes his athletes don’t get any ideas from the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who remained seated or took a knee during the National Anthem.

On Jan. 20, 2016, the Texas House Higher Education Committee discussed efforts to grow educational programs with University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven.

The Big Conversation

University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven hopes his athletes don’t get any ideas from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remained seated or took a knee during the National Anthem at recent football games.

On Aug. 29, the former admiral issued a memo addressed to the presidents and athletic directors of the eight universities in the UT System, implying that athletes who refuse to stand for the national anthem are disrespectful. He writes, “While no one should be compelled to stand, they should recognize that by sitting in protest to the flag they are disrespecting everyone who sacrificed to make this country what it is today — as imperfect as it might be.”

As the Tribune’s Matthew Watkins reports, this is not the first time McRaven has encouraged both athletes and coaches to honor the flag before sporting events. In January, he sent a similar memorandum asking coaches and players “to stand up straight when the National Anthem is played; to face the flag and place their hand over their heart as a sign of respect to the nation.” While his newest memo doesn’t mention Kaepernick directly, the statement was issued three days after the quarterback’s initial protest.

"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, according to "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."

Disclosure: The University of Texas System and the University of Texas at Austin have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Trib Must Reads

Analysis: Texas Politics is So Boring in 2016, Folks Are Already Talking 2018, by Ross Ramsey — Outside of the presidential race, the 2016 election in Texas is pretty quiet — so quiet that a lot of political people are spending their time talking about 2018 — and even 2020 as well.

Dan Patrick Again Targeting In-State Tuition For Undocumented Students, by Julián Aguilar — When Texas lawmakers meet next year, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is promising to again target a 2001 law that lets some undocumented immigrants pay in-state college tuition. 

Empower Texans Escalates Battle With Ethics Commission, by Patrick Svitek — The influential conservative group Empower Texans is escalating its long-running battle against the Texas Ethics Commission, accusing a former member of improperly seeking to influence state legislation.

Lawmaker Pledges Bill to Protect Texas Fantasy Sports Betting, by Nicole Cobler — A state lawmaker says he'll file legislation to make sure Texans can play fantasy sports online without repercussions.   

National Democrats to Start Opening Offices in Texas, by Patrick Svitek — National Democrats are beginning to open offices in Texas ahead of a presidential election that appears it could be closer than usual in the reliably red state.  

"Humans of KIPP" Captures Little Texans' Wisdom, by Elena Mejia Lutz — Inspired by "Humans of New York," an Austin charter school gives students a safe space to share their experiences and adults a chance to read kids' surprising perspectives.


(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Texas school shooting: Shooter dead, 2 injured, sheriff says, CNN

Cruz to skip major evangelical summit, The Hill 

Senate nears Zika funding breakthrough, Politico 

West Texas discovery puts Apache back in the game, Houston Chronicle 

GOP chairman: Trump is wrong on Putin, The Hill 

Van de Putte says San Antonio voters got it right by electing Mayor Ivy Taylor, San Antonio Express-News

Targeting the retailers: Kush court settlement largest in TexasHouston Chronicle 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins: Anyone who helped Susan Hawk deceive public shouldn't be considered for next DA, The Dallas Morning News 

Quote to Note

"What is Aleppo?"

— Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson on MSNBC when asked how he would address the refugee crisis in Aleppo, Syria. 

Today in TribTalk

I'm a conservative, Hispanic Republican, and I'm voting Trump, by Weston Martinez — If he stays tough on immigration and doesn't take the path of least resistance, Trump is deserving of my vote — and that of every other red, white and blue constitutional conservative from sea to shining sea.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   San Antonio & the Legislature: The Election and Beyond on Sept. 14 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

•   Meet the New Guys: A Conversation With Incoming Members of the Texas House on Sept. 15 at The Austin Club 

•   The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

•   The Washington Post's Politics & Pints with Chris Cillizza: TTF Edition on Sept. 24 at Scholz Garten

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

Texans need truth. Help us report it.

Yes, I'll donate today

Explore related story topics