NFL player protests during the national anthem have become part of the national political dialogue in recent days, with President Donald Trump criticizing those players who have knelt, or sat, during the anthem, and suggesting they should be “fired.”
Such protests haven’t spread to college football, but not necessarily because players lack the desire to protest during the anthem. Instead, college football teams – including the one at North Carolina – are often still in their locker room, instead of on the sideline, while the anthem is played.
Even so, UNC coach Larry Fedora on Monday considered the hypothetical: How would he handle the situation if his players did indeed have the chance to protest during the anthem?
“I haven’t talked about it with the team,” said Fedora, whose Tar Heels have lost three of their first four games after a 27-17 defeat against Duke on Saturday. “Here’s what I would say. And all I can do is give you my opinion on what I would do.
“What I would do is stand there proud. I think we have a great country. I think we’ve got a lot of problems in this country. I think we’ve had a lot of problems forever in this country. Everybody has a right, everybody has a right to protest whatever they want.
“That’s part of what this country is all about. They can choose to do it whenever they want to do it. Just understand there are consequences to everybody’s actions, no matter what they do, sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re bad.”
President Trump during a rally in Alabama on Friday disparaged players who have protested during the anthem. He referred to those players, collectively, as a “son of a b----,” and said that NFL team owners should remove protesting players from the field.