ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A group of roughly 20 Michigan Wolverines locked arms and stood in a circle, heads down, during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to their prime-time kickoff with rival Michigan State on Saturday.
This weekend is the first time Michigan has been on the field for the playing of the national anthem since President Donald Trump’s Sept. 22 comments on a controversy that started last season in the NFL with Jim Harbaugh’s former San Francisco 49ers team and quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem.
Following No. 7 Michigan’s last game two weeks ago, Harbaugh was asked about Trump’s stance that NFL players who knelt during the national anthem should lose their jobs.
Many college stadiums play the national anthem before both teams take the field and have done so for several years.
Players are typically on the field for the anthem at Michigan Stadium.
Last fall, several Michigan players raised fists during the national anthem to protest inequality in the United States.
Michigan also played a video prior to kickoff on Saturday night that featured several student-athletes and athletic director Warde Manuel asking fans to listen to the opinions of the athletes they celebrate on the field and be open to having conversations about a variety of social justice issues.