Hayes stands back in protest during national anthem
MADISON, Wis. — As hands were held over hearts and voices rang out during the national anthem, a star Wisconsin basketball player stood a few steps behind his teammates.
This is the third time Nigel Hayes has stood back in protest during the national anthem. The first time was during the Red-White Scrimmage, the second at an exhibition game.
“I fully support it,” senior Luke Nagle said. “I really appreciate how he’s taking this social activism in a very respectful way, especially at a liberal campus like Madison.”
Hayes has said he’s standing back in protest to bring awareness to racial injustice on campus and across the country. Recently, he and several other student athletes tweeted to demand change on campus in response to the way the administration handled a fan who wore an offensive costume to a football game.
“If that’s what he thinks is best for him, then he has a right to do that,” Badger fan Joe Flister said. “Whether or not I agree with it or not, it doesn’t really matter.”
Other fans had stronger opinions against the display of protest, especially on Veterans Day.
“I’d prefer he didn’t,” Badger fan Sandy Jacob said. “I feel he needs to honor our country. It’s a personal feeling, I understand. Everybody has their own thoughts and feelings, but mine is it’s disrespectful to our flag and to our servicemen.”
A teammate joined Hayes in his protest at Friday’s game against Central Arkansas and the exhibition game against UW-Platteville. Hayes said he plans to continue to stand behind his teammates during the national anthem until he sees change.