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Canisius College women's basketball players unite for gesture during national anthem

The Canisius College women's basketball team will raise their arms and hold hands during the playing of the national anthem before games this season, a school spokesman said Thursday.

The gesture was captured by a Buffalo News photographer before Wednesday's 71-69 overtime victory against St. Bonaventure at Koessler Center.

The gesture "is our women’s basketball program’s collective stance to show support for social justice and the underrepresented groups in America," Matt Reitnour, Canisius' assistant athletic director for communications, wrote Thursday in an email. "They have done it before each of the team’s first two home games. This is what the team decided to do as a group."

Three Canisius women's volleyball players took a knee during the national anthem this season, beginning in early October to coincide with many NFL players doing the same thing following inflammatory remarks by President Trump.

Among them was Tamia Bowden, whose mother is an Army combat veteran.

Why three Canisius College volleyball players decided to take a knee

In a statement issued last month in response to the volleyball players taking a knee, athletic director Bill Maher said the school recognizes "the right of a student-athlete to choose not to participate in our celebration of the national anthem," but noted "the national anthem is a special part of any pregame ceremony here at Canisius College. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as citizens."

The school said it has "added a moment of silent reflection prior to the start of all home sporting events in an effort to consider those whose lives are impacted by inequality and injustice."

Reitnour said the school's position has not changed regarding the anthem.


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