High school baseball returns in Iowa after COVID-19 pause with team kneeling during anthem

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High school sports resumed this week in Iowa, the first state to allow it since the COVID-19 crisis began, and at least one high school began the schedule by kneeling as a team during the national anthem.

The Roosevelt Roughriders baseball team out of Des Moines took a knee together and linked arms on the third base line for the pre-game playing of the song, via WHO-13 in Des Moines. The game was played at Principal Park, home of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.

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Seniors Jayden Singleton and Alex Pendergast said the moment was about representing the diversity in their schools and showing appreciation and support of social justice. Via WHO-13:

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The school administrators supported the decision.

“It made me feel good because our kids are in it together,” activities manager Tracy Johnson told WHO. “We want those kids to be able to express themselves, and it was neat for us to see all of our kids do that.”

Kneeling during the national anthem has again become a hot conversation again during the country’s reckoning with racial justice. Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the anthem in 2016 and was criticized when people said it was unpatriotic. That is beginning to change in the aftermaths of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African-Americans.

Already coaches and players alike have stated they will take a knee during the anthem as a silent protest to bring attention to social injustice and police brutality.

It’s come while sports leagues, both professional and amateur, are working to get back into action for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Iowa is the only state to play baseball and softball games in the summer, well past graduation. Most other states wiped out their springs seasons entirely.

first base with home plate in background isolated on an empty baseball diamond
Iowa began its high school baseball season on Monday. (Getty Images)

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