The Pittsburgh Panthers are no longer a national program like back in its heyday, but the Pitt brand does still carry some weight. It is why a relatively random kicker, here being Ian Troost, attempting some peaceful protesting was met with rather large coverage.

Ian Troost, a white walk-on kicker for Pitt, decided to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem before the team’s game against North Carolina. On the record, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi and (most) of his teammates expressed their support of the junior’s decision to kneel.

The kicker explained his decision to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

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“It’s not just like ‘Oh, all of a sudden this is happening’ or all of a sudden this is a result of one recent thing; it’s a result of the culmination of things over the past hundreds of years and legislation that has been passed. My original reasons were Colin’s original reasons – to raise awareness of systematic oppression and racial injustice in the United States that we often see through police brutality or the excessive use of force.

Over the past four years of my college career, I have constantly been having these conversations and learning,” he said. “I’ve never been in that situation. I’ve never been stereotyped for the color of my skin. I’ve never been oppressed. I’ve never had to worry about walking down the street at 2 a.m. with a hood on or when I get pulled over by a police officer keeping my hands in sight at all times. I’ve never had to worry about that and I never will have to.”

Hopefully, even if you disagree, you at least listen to what any of these guys have to say without giving them a chance first.