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File #: RS2021-868    Version: 1 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: Passed
File created: 3/5/2021 In control: Metropolitan Council
On agenda: 4/6/2021 Final action: 4/6/2021
Title: A Resolution expressing opposition to any efforts by the Tennessee General Assembly to prohibit an athlete from peacefully protesting before or during a collegiate sporting event.
Sponsors: Sharon Hurt, Emily Benedict, Ginny Welsch, Gloria Hausser, Zulfat Suara, Brandon Taylor
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A Resolution expressing opposition to any efforts by the Tennessee General Assembly to prohibit an athlete from peacefully protesting before or during a collegiate sporting event.


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WHEREAS, on February 16, 2021, members of the East Tennessee State University men's basketball team peacefully protested during "The Star-Spangled Banner" by kneeling before a game at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; and
WHEREAS, days after this peaceful and respectful show of solidarity by the ETSU men's basketball team, a letter signed by 27 Tennessee state senators was sent to the Chancellors and Presidents of public universities across the state; and
WHEREAS, in this letter, these state senators encouraged officials at these universities to adopt policies to prohibit kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner" at sporting events, encouraging these institutions of higher education to curtail the rights guaranteed to its students by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, for several years, athletes have chosen to kneel during the National Anthem to call attention to the issues of racial inequality in the United States and police brutality against people of color; and
WHEREAS, the First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech, which includes not only words but expressions, including kneeling; and
WHEREAS, kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner" is intended to make a specific protest against racism in the United States; and
WHEREAS, the third stanza of "The Star-Spangled Banner" states "No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave. And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave"; and
WHEREAS, Tennessee's public colleges and universities should continue to respect and encourage the exercise of free speech by its students, including student athletes; and
WHEREAS, if the Tennessee General Assembly seeks to chill the ...

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