MN college president apologizes for team’s no-show during anthem

The president of Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls is apologizing for the football squad’s no-show during the National Anthem earlier this month.

“My first reaction was that it was a new strategy the coach was using to avoid the controversy of protest during the national anthem,” NCTC President Dennis Bona tells Forum Communications. “That turned out to be false.”

That the team wasn’t on the field for the anthem sparked criticism from veterans groups at the homecoming game.

But head coach Jim Cox said he lost track of time and the only option he had was having his players run on the field during the anthem. He thought that a bad idea.

“It was bad communication on my part,” Cox said. “I did a poor job, and my apologies to anyone offended.”

But Bona, who personally apologized to some veterans, makes one thing clear. If it had part of a series of protests against disparities in the criminal justice system, he wouldn’t have tried to stop it.

“As far as curtailing or taking any corrective action for … what I will refer to as the passive form of protest of the kneeling or the raising of their hands over their head during the national anthem, that’s something we are going to protect,” he said. “We are not going to encourage it, but we are going to allow that to happen.”

“Really, that is their personal choice,” Coach Cox said of players who might protest. “My brother was killed in Vietnam for their right to do so.”

  • Zachary

    “Area Man’s Watch Stopped – Internet Outraged”

    • jon

      I think this runs deeper than ones mans watch…. I think this is a conspiracy and there is only one logical culprit.

      Casio hates America.

      • Zachary

        Big Timekeeper is Watching…

        • jon

          This could go all the way to the top… the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS).

          Damn them and their leap seconds…

          • Zachary

            You better be careful – if you tick them off, they may show up to tock to you…

  • KariBemidji

    Three cheers for Coach Cox! “I screwed up. I apologize. It was no one’s fault but my own.” See how easy that was?

    • Rob

      Props to him for both his straight-up apology and for reiterating support for team members’ right to protest.

  • DavidG

    Interesting reaction. Up until know, that’s what people were arguing these players should do rather than kneeling or sitting. The NWSL Washington Spirit even played the anthem early while the teams were still in the locker room to prevent Megan Rapinoe from kneeling.

    But now that it’s actually happened (even if accidentally), it’s now unacceptable?

    I suspect before long, we’ll see calls for loyalty oaths.

    • Rob

      Like the pledge of allegiance