A conservative blogger from Moore County who operates the Daily Haymaker website asked Friday whether the Central Carolina Community College basketball team “had gone full Kaepernick” after he apparently witnessed the team “standing shoulder to shoulder interlocking their arms” during the national anthem at a recent game:
Talk about right place, right time.
I was in attendance at the Sandhills Community College — Central Carolina Community College basketball game Wednesday night. As with most sporting events, the national anthem kicked things off.
The crowd and the Sandhills players stood, removed hats and appeared to show proper respect to the flag and the anthem. I glanced over at the Central Carolina bench and saw the players and the coach standing shoulder to shoulder interlocking their arms.
The first thing I thought about? The Colin Kaepernick-inspired protests of the national anthem during NFL games. You had players kneeling instead of standing at attention. President Trump, and most fans, attacked those gestures as disrespectful and less than patriotic. The kneeling transformed into standing shoulder to shoulder, interlocking arms.
I want to give the guys from Central Carolina the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps there was some other sort of meaning to their display.
While the Haymaker is as often wrong about things in Lee County as it is right – the site claimed in August that “well-placed sources” told him former Lee schools superintendent Jeff Moss was in the running for the presidency at CCCC (he wasn’t, and the college eventually hired Lisa Chapman from a pool of five finalists that didn’t include Moss), and in 2017 confused an occupancy tax bill filed by state Rep. John Sauls with one filed by Sen. Ron Rabin – the college appears to have acknowledged that the players did link arms, but denied that the action was a political statement.
In a follow-up post the same day, the Haymaker stated that CCCC Vice President for Student Services Ken Hoyle said “the interlocking of arms by the Central Carolina Community College basketball team and coaches is an act that has happened at each game for the entire 2018-2019 season and is in no way a political or social statement or protest. This act is a show of unity and solidarity amongst players and coaches for team bonding before their pending athletic match and the College supports them in doing so.”
Meanwhile, the posts appear to have stirred up predictable reactions from some of the usual suspects, including Lee County Commissioner Kirk Smith and friend of the Rant/former state Rep. Mike Stone, who both took the internet to decry a situation which the school has described as non-political: