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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 Universit...

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 NFL.com. "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.

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