University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and Athletic Director Jeff Long released a new statement regarding members of the Arkansas Women’s Basketball team kneeling during the National Anthem.
The full statement is below:
“There is no greater freedom in America than the freedom of speech and so many brave Americans have sacrificed defending that very premise. The intention of our student athletes was not to denigrate the flag, to show disrespect to our veterans or to challenge our freedoms, but rather to simply raise awareness of an important issue of concern in our communities. While I encourage people to stand during the playing of the national anthem, as I choose to do, I will respect others who exercise free speech guaranteed to them by our Constitution. Our campus will continue to engage in productive and necessary dialogue until every member of our community feels respected and safe.”
Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long:
“As I expressed in my statement last night, I support our student-athletes’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression. I believe in standing for the National Anthem and will continue to stand as a sign of respect for our military, law enforcement and those who serve our country.
“It is important to note that members of the women’s basketball team voiced, in their own words, that their demonstration was not directed at those who have served our nation in the military. The intent of their demonstration was to bring awareness to social injustice.”