Seattle high school football team kneels for national anthem

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A Seattle high school football team knelt during the playing of the national anthem before a game on Friday night, embracing a silent protest for social justice initiated last month by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Players and coaches from Garfield High School knelt in unison before their game against West Seattle High School, and some West Seattle players also knelt, according to local news reports and social media.

Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers' No. 2 quarterback, declined to stand during the national anthem ahead of a pre-season game on Aug. 26, setting off a debate about race relations, policing and the mixing of politics and sports.

Garfield players decided to kneel after talking among themselves about Kaepernick and social injustice, Coach Joey Thomas said.

PRO ATHLETES WHO PROTEST THE NATIONAL ANTHEM:

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Colin Kaepernick and more pro athletes protesting during the national anthem
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Colin Kaepernick and more pro athletes protesting during the national anthem
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers kneels in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Duane Brown #76 of the Houston Texans raises his fist during the national anthem before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Kenny Stills #10 of the Miami Dolphins (C) kneels during the national anthem before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles players Steven Means (51), Malcolm Jenkins (27) and Ron Brooks (33) raise their fists in the air during the national anthem for a game against the Chicago Bears on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
USA's Megan Rapinoe, right, kneels next to teammates Samanth Mewis (20) Christen Press (12), Ali Krieger (11), Crystal Dunn (16) and Ashlyn Harris (22) as the US national anthem is played before an exhibition soccer match against Netherlands Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016 file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels during the national anthem before the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, in San Diego. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell disagrees with Kaepernick's choice to kneel during the national anthem, but recognizes the quarterback's right to protest. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Sep 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels during the national anthem next to defensive end Jared Crick (93) and defensive tackle Billy Winn (97) and defensive tackle Adam Gotsis (99) before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
From left, Miami Dolphins' Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills, kneel during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Kenny Britt #18 and Robert Quinn #94 of the Los Angeles Rams raise their fists in protest prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Phoenix Mercury's Kelsey Bone, right, and Mistie Bass, second from right, kneel during the playing of the national anthem before the start of a first round WNBA playoff basketball game against the Indiana Fever, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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"Let's just talk about it. How are you killing these African American males on camera and we can't even get a day in court?" Thomas said, according to the Seattle Times.

Players and coaches plan to continue kneeling all season, Thomas said in a video posted by KCPQ-TV.

High school football players in Camden, New Jersey, knelt during the national anthem before a game there last weekend, a local NBC affiliate reported. Players from San Francisco's Mission High School also took a knee before a game last Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The U.S. national anthem, Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner," is a target of protest in part because its rarely-performed third verse celebrates the defeat of slaves who fought with the British during the War of 1812.

Most Americans think Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the anthem is unpatriotic but support his right to free speech, while nearly half do not think the National Football League should penalize him, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

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