Football players for Michigan and Michigan State along with a group of students at North Carolina raised their fists during the national anthem Saturday.
The gestures at the games come following a week punctuated by riots in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the killing of an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Three Michigan State players — Delton Williams, Kenney Lyke and Gabe Sherrod — held their right fists in the air while standing on the sideline before the No. 8 Spartans hosted No. 11 Wisconsin.
“Whether somebody salutes, puts the hand over their heart or does something else, everybody has a choice to make,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio added after the Spartans’ 30-6 loss. “Our young people are in college, and I can promise you one thing, that when the flag is presented in some respect, I guess it becomes much more important now. It’s not just, oh by the way, we’ll just stand for ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’
“All I can do is try and lead the best way I can, and be positive and accepting to our football team and our players,” the coach added. “When we come together after the national anthem, we come together with solidarity, and I think that’s what’s important.”
Several players for No. 4 Michigan also had their fists up before facing Penn State in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Among them were Khalid Hill, Mike McCray, Devin Bush, Elysee Mbem-Bosse and Jourdan Lewis.