A diocese in New Jersey has told its schools in a letter that any footballer who opted not to stand for the national anthem would be subject to suspension, reports the Religion News Service.
The letter adds that the “best approach (to dealing with the issue) is helping our young people understand that blood was sacrificed so that we all can enjoy the gifts of our faith and our country.
“However, let me be clear. We are not public institutions and free speech in all of its demonstrations, including protests, is not a guaranteed right.”
The Camden Diocese in New Jersey oversees several high schools.
The letter followed a decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality and oppression of African-Americans by sitting for the anthem during a pre-season game. He has been followed by other professional athletes.
Players and coaches from Woodrow Wilson high school kneeled for the national anthem before Saturday’s 13-7 loss to Highland. Coach Preston Brown said he made the decision to kneel to bring attention to social injustices and economic disparities.
Mr Brown let his team know his intention before the game and did not ask them to join him but almost all of the coaches and players did.