High school football team national anthem protest remains peaceful in Montgomery County

Damascus, Md. – A battle on the football field did not turn into a war off the field despite some indications that there “would be a price to pay” for protests during the national anthem during the Watkins Mill and Damascus High School game Friday night.

For the second week in a row, several members of the Watkins Mill team took a knee during the national anthem. The move mirrors similar protests being done on the pro and prep level nationwide in protest of police and social injustices.

The protests drew the ire of some Damascus football players and fans. Social media activity regarding the protests got to the point that the Damascus High School principal issued a letter asking students to respect the right of the Watkins Mills team to the protest.

At Watkins Mill, principal Carol Goddard said the protest has sparked school-wide conversations about interactions with police and the social change. In the two days leading up to the game in Damascus there were two town hall meetings for the school allowing as many students to participate as possible.

As for the moments of protests, most of the Watkins Mill sideline took a knee while many coaches and a few players remained standing. Some on the Watkins Mill sideline stood with their fists in their air as a show of solidarity with the team.

“We’re proud of them and support what they’ve done at the school,” said one teacher who didn’t want to identify himself.

On the other side of the field, the student section of the Damascus crowd was extra boisterous. Their singing was more than just loud-- the words were almost shouted-- so they could be heard across the field.