Worcester Football Player Won’t Be Suspended for National Anthem Protest after All

Mike Oppong, who channelled Colin Kaepernick on Friday, will not be disciplined for taking a knee.

It turns out a high school football player in Worcester who took a knee during the National Anthem will not be punished for his peaceful protest after all.

The student, a Doherty High junior Mike Oppong who made waves when he took a knee at his team’s game on Friday, tweeted Monday that he would not be suspended for one game for his actions. He’d said earlier that school leadership and coaching staff were going to bench him.

News that Oppong might get in trouble for taking part in what has been a wave of similar peaceful protests undertaken by football players around the country to call attention to racial oppression in the U.S., spread rapidly online. A tweet from Oppong announcing the supposed disciplinary action sent on Sunday afternoon had been retweeted more than 1,500 times by Monday morning.

But school leadership in Worcester, in an official statement Monday said Oppong would not be suspended, and affirmed his right to protest.

“The Doherty student did not violate any school rule when he peacefully and silently protested during the National Anthem,” Worcester Superintendent Maureen Binienda wrote in a statement, as reported by MassLive. “He exercised his Constitutional Rights without disturbing the school assembly and he is not being disciplined by his actions.”

The discrepancy may stem from what Oppong’s coach told him after the protest: that there would be a discussion among school leaders about suspending him, Binienda tells the Worcester Telegram.

Oppong tweeted Monday morning that he would not be suspended, and credited the flood of support online.

Thanks to all your love and support my suspension of 1 game has been terminated! pic.twitter.com/a8RB9c200N

— BLACK LIVES MATTER (@Oppong_5) September 12, 2016