UPDATE: Millikin Football Team Sits Out National Anthem

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UPDATE: Millikin University has issued a statement in response to the football team staying in the locker room, and a lone player staying on the field, at Saturday's football game.

The statement came the University's Media Coordinator Dane Lisser, and reads as follows:

"The national anthem is an opportunity to reflect on the liberty and freedom we hold sacred and work to foster. Millikin University will continue to celebrate that tradition at every one of our games. True to our mission to prepare students for democratic citizenship in a global environment, we respect the rights and beliefs of our students, faculty, and community to exercise their civil liberties, in ways consistent with their conscience, while the national anthem is played. With that in mind, when the Big Blue take the field this weekend, we will continue to support the individual expressions of those liberties and freedoms."

WAND News continues to follow this developing story. Stay with us for the latest.

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UPDATE: Millikin University officials are declining to comment after the Millikin University Football team stayed in their locker room for the National Anthem during Saturday's football game.

Connor Brewer, the only football player that stood up and remained on the field during the National Anthem, tells WAND News that he does not wish to speak to the media until he talks to his football team and coach.

Millikin University's Media Coordinator, Dane Lisser, says tomorrow the university will release a statement about what the university plans to do moving forward.

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UPDATE: WAND News has learned that one football player Connor Brewer remained out on the field during the National Anthem. We have reached out to Brewer to ask him his thoughts on the protest.

Photo courtesy of Neysa Nichole Nerich

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Decatur- In a move that has garnered support from some and outrage from many others, the Millikin University Football team stayed in their locker room for the National Anthem.

The decision came after several football players kneeled during the National Anthem at a football game on September 24th, causing a discussion within the school and the football team. In an email sent to students and facility, the school and the football described why they made their decision, "Rather than have our message be misunderstood or misconstrued, we are united in our decision to stay in the locker room until kickoff during which time we will engage in a moment of reflection to personally recognize the sacrifice of so many and renew our commitment to living up to those most important words: "with liberty and justice for all."

However, many members of the community are outraged over the decision. "I'm very supportive of Millikin sport programs, I'm very supportive of the college as a whole, I've lived here my whole life, however in this instance, I believe they have dropped the ball." said Jewell Young, a Decatur resident. "If some don't agree with the National Anthem, then they should stay in the locker room and come out when it begins. I don't think the whole team should have to stay in because I don't think the whole team feels that way."

Steve Little, who has a son at Millikin, also believes that the whole team should not have to stay in the locker room for the National Anthem if they do not believe in the protest. "Maybe the guys who don't want to stand for the National Anthem, black or white, can stay in and let the rest of the guys come out and do it, they should let the rest of the guys that want to come out, come out." he said.

There were other members of the community who were not sure how the university should have handled the situation.  "It might be a good decision on their behalf, I don't know their reason for it to be exact. But I can't judge anybodies decision, so it might be a good decision on their behalf" said Ahmaad Mathews, a Millikin fan.

Some Millikin fans have said they will no longer come to the games as long as Millikin players stay in the locker room for the National Anthem. However, many fans do believe the university has made the right decision.

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