The Lapeer Lightning freshman football team learned that the national anthem would not be played before their game with Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint Township, Mich, they took matters into their own hands and they sang the anthem themselves, while standing at attention with their hands covering their heart. The crowd reacted accordingly. Colin Kaepernick was not available for comment.
Carman-Ainsworth Schools Superintendent Eddie Kindle explained:
“Like most schools in the state of Michigan, we choose to play the national anthem prior to the highest level of competition.”
He claimed that not playing the anthem was not a protest. Believe that or not, whichever you want.
“It’s an incredible feeling. I’ve been with most of these players for three years now. They’re just an awesome group of kids,” Lapeer head coach Bryan Sahr said. “It makes me incredibly emotional and I don’t usually get emotional.”
Sahr said the team was unaware that a formal decision had been made not to play the anthem, which was why the team lined up to hear it. They assumed it was not played due to problems with the sound system.
The coach said the players and fans on the host team’s sideline saluted while his team sang, and then cheered when their rendition was over.
“A lot of teenagers would be embarrassed to do that. I know I don’t like to hear myself sing,” Sahr said.
“We’re just super proud of our guys to overcome that situation and take it upon themselves to sing the national anthem. We couldn’t be prouder,” said Lapeer High School athletic director Shad Spilski.
Lapeer mom Chell Byrnes posted an image of the team on her Facebook page with an explanation of what happened. The post was shared more than 1,700 times and attracted numerous comments.