On Saturday, three members of Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State football team joined the growing nationwide protest to end systematic racism across the country. Those players — fullback Delton Williams, defensive end Gabe Sherrod and safety Kenney Lyke — raised their fists during the national anthem ahead of the game against Wisconsin.
After the game, which the Badgers won in impressive fashion, Dantonio was asked about his players’ decision to raise their fists in protest.
When Dantonio spoke about the issue, he didn’t condemn the players for making a statement. Instead, he offered a refreshing approach that we have yet to see from college football coaches.
Dantonio expressed understanding and compassion for the issue which is so important to many people across the country.
From The Game 730 WVFN-AM:
“Your patriotism, your faith are sort of the same–that’s your choice. And it’s influenced by what you’ve experienced in this world. This is America, and that’s what the flag stands for. It stands for the freedom to do what you need to do, and that’s the beautiful thing about this country.
“At some point in time, when the true enemy comes, I guess we’ll all stand together. But I can’t make assumptions for our players, what they’ve gone through in their lives.
“All I can do is try to lead the best way I can and be positive and accepting of our football team and our players.”
Those are some powerful statements and it’s great to see Dantonio understanding where his players are coming from. It’s just a shame that everyone can’t approach the sensitive topic with such a clear mind and compassion.
You can see Dantonio’s full remarks below: