High school player suspended for kneeling during anthem has suspension lifted after public outcry

Mike Oppong, a junior quarterback and defensive back at Doherty High School in Worcester, MA, took a knee during the national anthem prior to his team’s first game of the season. 

“I’m standing up to the injustice that happens to black people every day, not just cops killing black people,” he wrote on Twitter. “We are distrusted and mistreated everywhere we go because of the colour of our skin and I’m sick of it.”

As a result of his actions, which Oppong said he did in solidarity with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Oppong received a one-game suspension by his coaches and school principle.

As many were quick to point on on Twitter, a suspension for exercising one’s First Amendment rights would be illegal. 

Maureen Binienda, the superintendent of schools in the area released a statement on Monday morning saying that Oppong had not violated any school rules.

“The Doherty student did not violate any school rule when he peacefully and silently protested during the National Anthe,” Benienda wrote (via MassLive.com). “He exercised his Constitutional Rights without disturbing the school assembly and he is not being disciplined by his actions.”

On Monday, Oppong announced that his coaches had rescinded his suspension. 

Oppong said he plans to continue to kneel during the anthem.

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