Eight players from the basketball team of Ole Miss Männer knelt down in the national anthem before the home game against Georgia on Saturday in response to a confederation rally near the arena.
Minutes before the match, both teams formed lines for the anthem. As "The Star-Spangled Banner" began, six rebel players – including KJ Buffen, D. C. Davis, Brian Halums, Luis Rodriguez, Devontae Shuler and Bruce Stevens – successively resigned. Two other players – apparently Breein Tyree and Franco Miller Jr. – also took a knee when the song reached its final line.
The game was played when two Confederation groups held a march on campus in Oxford, Mississippi.
"The majority of them consisted of just seeing one of our teammates and not wanting to be alone," said Ole Miss, Tyree's leader, after his team's 72-71
Various student groups protested on campus Thursday and Friday against the protest. Saturday march, led by Confederate Confederations 901 and the Hiwaymen also attracted protest demonstrations. The march began at the Confederate Memorial in the town square and ended at another Confederate memorial in the heart of the Ole Miss campus.
"The hate groups that came to our community to try to spread rage and bigotry," said Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis. "It has created a lot of excitement for our campus, and our players have made an emotional decision to show these people that they are not welcome on campus, and we respect the freedom and ability of our players to choose."
When he was Davis, who was introduced to coaching Ole Miss last March, he said his team wanted to "respect the flag and the national anthem." Davis had also stressed that he stood for the national anthem in his previous position in the state of Middle Tennessee.
Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork said he had participated in a discussion about the protests on campus with the players.
"These people who come here and shed hatred, fanaticism and racism, they do not want on our campus, our players are committed to it," said Bjork. "It had nothing to do with the anthem to do something else: "We do not want these people to be here, they protest during our game and that's not right, because it's not the Ole Miss I know."
"We talked to them We Support them because we do not want these people. The university does not want her. Our city does not want her. They are so good outside the state that players get up and make a statement. "
Protesters gathered around a monument on campus, while police watched carefully. The groups were kept separate from about 50 counter-protesters, and there were no reports of violence. The groups went out during the game in the second Half was.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.