Five different Lobos took a knee during the national anthem, which was played during halftime of last Saturday’s football game against Air Force.
The players who knelt were Kimmie Carson, Michael Sewell Jr., Stanley Barnwell Jr., Elijah Lily and Garrett Hughes.
Through the act, the Lobos became the second team at the collegiate level to kneel during the anthem — three Nebraska players knelt last season during a game against Northwestern.
At the University of New Mexico, the anthem is usually played during the pregame, when the teams are not on the field. But due to accommodations made for the weather Saturday night, the anthem was played during the brief five minute halftime.
Lobos head coach Bob Davie said after the game that an agreement had been reached to skip playing the anthem, so he was surprised when it took place.
“We’ve never been out there for a national anthem,” he said. “The agreement was made that there was going to be no national anthem played (at halftime) between (Air Force coach) Troy Calhoun, myself and the referees. I didn’t know it was going to be played when it was played — I don’t think our players knew.”
Because the team isn’t normally on the field during the anthem, Davie said he didn’t speak with his team prior to the game about what they wanted to do, and as a result he was not aware of any plans to kneel. Coming up with a team stance is something Davie wants discuss in the coming weeks.
“I’d like to have the opportunity to visit with our players, talk about what our stance would be, unified as a football team,” Davie said. “Again, I wouldn’t want to judge — at least speaking from my standpoint as a total football team. Because in fairness to them, we never really talked to them about it. It’s the first time for me during a game that the national anthem was played at halftime.”
Davie’s players echoed his statements about the situation, and coming up with a unified team stance is something that linebacker Alex Hart emphasized as well.
“Honestly, I didn’t know (the national anthem was going to be played at halftime),” Hart said. “It’s not something I really want to talk about, but I wish we would’ve known about it — being out there at halftime and them playing the national anthem — just so we can talk about everyone’s opinions with me being a team leader. That’s important to this team. We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable in doing what they believe in, and I totally respect that.”
New Mexico will head into its bye week this Saturday, and the team will resume play on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Fresno State. The team will not be expected to be on the field for the national anthem for any other game this season.
Cameron Goeldner is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.