Eight players from Ole Miss took a knee during the national anthem before Saturday's (February 23) basketball game against Georgia in response to a pro-Confederate rally that was happening on the school's campus.
"This was all about the hate groups that came to our community to try to spread racism and bigotry," Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said after the game. "It's created a lot of tension for our campus. Our players made an emotional decision to show these people they're not welcome on our campus, and we respect our players' freedom and ability to choose that."
The players said that the decision to kneel was not made beforehand and is not something they expect to do in the future.
"The majority of it was we saw one of our teammates doing it, and we just didn't want him to be alone,'' Ole Miss scoring leader Breein Tyree told the media. "We're just tired of these hate groups coming to our school and portraying our campus like it's our actual university having these hate groups in our school."
The Confederate rally began at a Confederate statue in the city of Oxford, Mississippi. From there, protesters from two pro-Confederate groups marched onto the Ole Miss campus where they gathered in front of another Confederate statue. They were met by counter-protesters, but police said there were no reports of violence from either side.