NAIA’s Bluefield College to remain in locker room during anthem to avoid suspensions

Men's college basketball players from NAIA-level Bluefield College decided to stay in the locker room during the national anthem for the rest of the 2020-21 season. The team made the collective decision to avoid risk of potential penalties from kneeling during the anthem. 

The news comes on the heels of the Virginia-based school forfeiting its NAIA Appalachian Athletic Conference game against Reinhardt after players were suspended for kneeling during the national anthem before January and February games. 

Bluefield College school president David Olive announced the suspension of the entire team after players knelt for the anthem before their Feb. 9 game.

Bluefield College forward Stanley Christian told ESPN on Friday the team still plans to speak out against racial injustice and police brutality, but in a different fashion outside of protesting during the anthem. 

"It's bigger than us, and we don't want to have the season taken away from us," Christian said. "We feel like we're in a great position to bring this school a title. So we'll stay in the locker room during the national anthem. They don't want any more backlash, and we would definitely take a knee during the anthem."

Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson

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