“The Northwestern coach spoke forcefully about the issue Tuesday after practice, telling the Tribune:”Football has every race, every religion, guys from all over the country different shapes, different sizes, not only at this level but I watch my play and it’s the same thing.

Northwestern visits Wisconsin on Saturday, and the color guard is scheduled to play the national anthem at 10:55 a.m., 11 minutes before kickoff.

Fitzgerald said the Wildcats, including coaches and staff, will take the field with arms locked following the Badgers.

“That’s a decision the players made,” he said.

The president tweeted that standing with arms locked is “Good,” but Northwestern safety Kyle Queiro said the Wildcats will do it to show “We’re one unified group; we all believe in equality.”

Fitzgerald made it clear that his players reserve the right to express themselves in bolder fashion before Northwestern’s next game, Oct. 7 against Penn State.

The Wildcats do take the field for the national anthem at all home games.

Fitzgerald gatd his players Monday to discuss the issues, showing them clips of NBC analyst Tony Dungy, who has defended players who kneel as “Guys who care about their community, care about their country.”

Said Fitzgerald of what transpired Sunday in NFL stadiums: “I commend these guys for making a peaceful protest to injustice. When you really research and read about what is trying to be accomplished, I think it’s getting lost by a lot of people. Our guys said they had an open dialogue and want to support each other. They’re sad; they’re disappointed. Anyone involved in football or sports, if you don’t get what these gentlemen are trying to accomplish, then you’re really not listening to the message.”