Worcester high school football player who kneeled during the anthem won't be punished
WORCESTER >> A high school football player who said he had been suspended for taking a knee during the national anthem before a recent game won't be disciplined, school officials said Monday.
Michael Oppong, a junior quarterback and safety for Doherty High School in Worcester, dropped to one knee during the anthem before Friday's loss to Leominster.
He tweeted Sept. 6 that he was inspired by a similar protest by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during a preseason game to call attention to what he termed the oppression of blacks and other minorities.
Oppong tweeted Sunday that he had been suspended for one game by his "coaches and principals" and reiterated the one-game suspension in a message to The Associated Press on Monday. He went to classes as normal.
He said he kneeled to "protest for equality."
Worcester schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda said in a statement Monday, without mentioning Oppong by name, that he will not be punished.
"The Doherty student did not violate any school rule when he peacefully and silently protested during the national anthem. He exercised his Constitutional rights without disturbing the school assembly and he is not being disciplined by his actions," the statement said.
His protest and news of the suspension created a social media firestorm over the weekend, both from supporters and those who opposed his action.
After news broke that he wouldn't be suspended, Oppong tweeted: "Justice was served."