• High School, youth football teams confront issues surrounding protest


    BOSTON - High school and youth football players all over the country are watching what their heroes are doing on the field and that's forcing coaches and athletic directors to come up with a game plan about how to talk to their players about this controversy.

    These young athletes say at first they didn't understand the complexity of the issue at hand, but the more they learned the more questions they had. 

    It’s been a full year since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem in protest of recent incidents of police brutality the controversial debate continues. 

    “In our country right now, you have an opportunity to have these kinds of conversations with young people,” Byron Beaman, football coach at Jeremiah Burke High School in Dorchester said.

    Beaman it starts with giving the players the space for the conversation.

    “We have perform libations at the end of every circle where we pay honor and tribute to people who have done significant things in our life. That's the space for us to have those conversations issues like this,” 

    Boston 25 News reporter Crystal Haynes asked varsity player Devante Jamison what questions he had Monday morning after watching the pros kneel or link arms Sunday. 

    “It helps you because it shows that people actually care about what's going on,” he said.

    Dan Lebowitz runs the sports and society program at Northeastern University where major league teams are trained to effectively have the same conversations happening on high school ball fields. 

    "When you look at sport, sport is one of the great unifiers,” he said. “If we can look at what happened on NFL Sunday as the beginning of a conversation and to really be self-effacing enough to unpack your own bias, we're looking at a great conversation starter."

    Public schools cannot discipline students for silent acts of political protest that don't disrupt the operations of a school. But last year a player in Worcester was disciplined and that decision was reversed.

    >>PREVIOUSWorcester football player protests the National Anthem

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