East Tennessee State University: Basketball Players Denounced for Kneeling During National Anthem

Category: Free Speech, Freedom of Conscience
Schools: East Tennessee State University

In February 2021, state lawmakers and members of the public called for action after members of the East Tennessee State University men’s basketball team knelt during the national anthem prior to a game. FIRE, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and PEN America wrote letters to ETSU and Randy Boyd, the president of the University of Tennessee System, on February 24, explaining that the First Amendment and Tennessee state law protect student-athletes’ right to peacefully protest and calling on the university system to avoid implementing policies that would unlawfully foreclose on their rights. ETSU did not respond to the coalition letters, and the men’s basketball coach subsequently resigned.