A U.S. court has ruled that a high school football player in California can’t be forced by his school district to stand during the national anthem before football games, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The student, identified as a Native American football player and referred to in court documents as “V.A.,” was emulating NFL players who protest police brutality and racism during the national anthem before games, the newspaper reported.
According to the LA Times, the San Pasqual Valley Unified School District passed rules banning protests during the anthem after students at a majority-white neighboring school yelled racial slurs at San Pasqual Valley High School students when the player knelt during the anthem before a game.
“We are pleased with this outcome,” Katie Traverso, V.A.’s attorney, said in a news release. “Students like our client who conscientiously carry their values and ideals with them, cannot be silenced or directed on what to say or not say by their school in this manner.”
The court’s decision comes two months after two Texas high school students were kicked off a private football team for similar protests during the national anthem.
NFL players such as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick have knelt before football games during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice in recent months. The protests sparked a national controversy, which grew when President Trump addressed them at a campaign rally in September.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired,’ ” Trump said at the time.