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UM, MSU players raise fists during anthem

Players for Michigan and Michigan State raised their fists in the air during the national anthem at each teams' respective home games on Saturday.

Three Michigan State players — running back Delton Williams, safety Kenney Lyke and defensive end Gabe Sherrod — held their right fists in the air while standing for the anthem before the eighth-ranked Spartans' 30-6 loss to 11th-ranked Wisconsin.

Each made the gesture while standing next to one another on the sideline.

Running back Delton Williams was one of three Michigan State players who raised their right fists during the national anthem before the Spartans' game against Wisconsin. Mike Carter/USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick received national attention when he refused to stand for the anthem before NFL preseason games earlier this year. He cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for his actions.

Since then, other athletes all over the U.S. have engaged in their own protests during the anthem.

Later on Saturday, Michigan players held their right fists in the air on their home sideline while the national anthem played at the Big House Saturday afternoon.

Michigan All-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis appeared to be among the handful of Wolverines with his hand in the air. Lewis, who has previously spoken up about social justice issues, said weeks ago that he thought Kaepernik's protest made some important points but he wasn't sure the best way to voice those concerns.

"The freedom of speech thing is a really big deal, but I wouldn't go against America as a whole," Lewis said in late August. "There has been inequality for some time now, but to say that I want to be somewhere else would be a lie. I love America and I will always want to be here

Weeks ago, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about Colin Kaepernik's anthem protest and said he understood the motivation for the protest but he did not "respect the action."

Harbaugh coached Kaepernick in San Francisco for four seasons before leaving for the Michigan job last year.


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