Open Letter to the Bellarmine Community by Members of the Varsity Football Team

An open letter to our community:

We have chosen to kneel for the national anthem tonight in an act of peaceful protest against injustice. The act of kneeling during the anthem originated with sitting and progressed to kneeling as a sign of respect for our flag, as suggested by former Green Beret, Nate Boyer. As students of a Jesuit institution, we are taught to be men for and with others and to seek justice and truth. In light of our summit on understanding race in the 21st century, along with our personal experiences with discrimination both at Bellarmine and in our broader community, we feel compelled to raise awareness for the marginalized.

By kneeling, we hope to express our dissatisfaction with our society’s failure to uphold the values of justice, equality, and peace, and start constructive dialogue in our community. In addition, we kneel to show our support for our country’s marginalized groups: minorities, women, immigrants, those who have experienced religious persecution, and members of the LGBTQ community. We would like to clarify that we unequivocally appreciate and value the sacrifices of law enforcement officers, yet we feel the need to express our displeasure with the continued failure of some of its members as well as our justice system to protect the marginalized. We pray that we should move forward on the path towards equality by engaging in constructive dialogue and celebrating our differences. We love our country and hope to promote change through this peaceful act of protest, which is inspired by our Jesuit education. Whether you sit, stand, or kneel, we invite you to join us in our efforts in any manner you choose. We look forward to continuing this conversation as a community in the coming days and weeks.


Members of the Bellarmine family

4 thoughts on “Open Letter to the Bellarmine Community by Members of the Varsity Football Team

  1. I coached at Bellarmine with Walt Arnold from 1976-1984 when my son graduated. I believe that these players have chosen the wrong venue for their protests. If they are protesting Police Brutality, go to the nearest Police department. If it’s Gay rights, try the nearest church. Immigration, take it to the ICE office.
    I wonder if the administration at Bellarmine would have supported the players if they were protesting Abortion, Illegal Immigration or Gay Marriage?
    If these players felt so strongly, they could have protested during the coin toss. The National Anthem should not be disrespected.

  2. I am an alumnus graduated min 1961 and a Vietnam veteran. My brother Anthony graduated in m1960 and was disabled fighting in Vietnam., I have two younger brothers who also graduated from Bellarmine. I had always held Bellarmine up as one of the best experiences in my life. I know the players say they knelt to protest social injustice, but I am not sure they can even point to it. Pride in Country(one that has always been the guiding light for freedom and equality) is not a bad thing but ridicule and disrespect is. Maybe its “cool” to copy the spoiled NFL millionaires who knelt during the anthem. What I do know is you disrespected me, my Brother, and all the Bellarmine graduates who are and were veterans. I believe an apology is in order. If you are truly man enough to disrespect your country then be man enough to apologize. Courtesy and respect for those who risked their lives so you could “take a knee” is never out of style and you can still be “cool.”
    Joseph DiLeonardo Class of 1961

  3. Bellarmine lost the game 48 – 0, yet I’ve rarely been more proud of my alma mater. For anyone criticizing the players who participated in the protest, try addressing the points made in this open letter — I think you’ll find it difficult to discount them.

    1. I will not discount them but I will suggest to you that they could have chosen a better venue. I believe that they have tarnished the Bellarmine brand. How about they kneel when they first come onto the field? The fact that ALL of the players did not kneel, shows that there was no TEAM unity. These decisive actions do not help you win in TEAM SPORTS.

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