MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Senate GOP Caucus sent a letter to all Tennessee universities Tuesday regarding college athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.
The letter states that athletes represent Tennessee and its residents, “many of whom view this form of protest as offensive and disrespectful to the very thing our National Anthem represents.”
The GOP says it does not condone this type of protest that could be viewed as disrespectful to the nation or flag while representing state colleges and universities.
The letter then asks higher educations officials to prohibit athletes from doing so.
“To address the issues, we encourage each of you to adopt policies within your respective athletic departments to prohibit any such actions moving forward. We view this as a teachable moment in which administrators may listen to concerns from students but also exercise leadership in stating unequivocally what the National Anthem means to this nation and explain proper times.”
After the letter surfaced, members of the Senate Democratic Caucus released a statement in support of student-athletes who are “protesting peacefully at Tennessee colleges.”
It reads in part:
“Our public colleges and universities should be a safe place for students to express themselves and advocate peacefully for change in our country without interference from the legislature or university administrators. In fact, student organizing on college campuses is a perfect reflection of the American values embedded in our First Amendment. Rather than silencing the voices of students who are peacefully bringing attention to injustice in our country, we should all be working together to address the inequities that brought them to a knee.”