WORCESTER (CBS) – A Doherty Memorial High School football player who knelt during the National Anthem before Friday’s game against Leominster has not, and will not, be disciplined.

The silent protest was in support of a “dialogue on race and equality,” according to the school, similar to the demonstrations in the NFL this past weekend.

Superintendent Maureen Binienda spoke with the player, Michael Oppong, his mother and the coach Monday morning.

“The coach had asked him at the game ‘Why did you do that?’ The young man stated that he was going down to tie his shoe. So then, during the weekend, the young man decided he wanted to call the coach and tell him the truth. So he called the coach and said, ‘I wasn’t really going down to tie my shoe, I was doing it as a protest,’” Binienda told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

“So they had a couple of conversations during the weekend and the coach said, ‘Be prepared on Monday. You might have to miss one game.’”

Oppong says he’s proud of the decision he made to kneel during the National Anthem.

“I’m not a hero I’m just trying to help justice be served,” Oppong said.

No action was taken, but Michael tweeted about the incident and it’s since generated a lot of buzz from across the country.

“My coach called me to tell me I would be suspended for a game and coach told me to tweet that,” Oppong told WBZ-TV.


“If a coach or team decides they all want to stand for the National Anthem we would like that.  But, if anyone chooses not to, then that’s their Constitutional right and we cannot discipline by law,” Binienda said.

“I wasn’t trying to oppose 9/11. I happen to respect the veterans and those who lost their lives on 9/11,” Oppong said.

His classmates and teammates stand behind him.

“I don’t understand where all the hate is coming from he’s exercising his Constitutional rights,” classmate Jacob Robertson said.

The teams says they do have a plan for the National Anthem for this Friday’s game. Michael says he does plan to kneel again and hopes his teammates will join him.

Oppong thanks his teammates and now even his coach for their support. “I appreciate my teammates a lot for their support. They helped me get through this,” Oppong said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

Comments (13)
  1. bees_knees_6 says:

    How exactly is there even a debate about punishing someone for exercising his constitutional rights?

  2. slickone says:

    the kid is a punk!

  3. Lisa says:

    Black lives matter? Then why don’t all these people protesting the Flag (which has nothing to do with any of this) go volunteer in the areas that the Black people, whom are committing crimes and getting killed while doing so, need them? Oh they won’t do that, they will just do this disrespectful act. I hope you never need the Horrible police or service people that are dying defending your rights! I hope you realize how racist it is to say “Black Lives Matter” instead of “ALL lives matter” But somehow it is okay for black people to disrespect white people but it’s horrible if it’s the other way around. Somehow it’s okay for black’s to shoot cops but again, horrible the other way around. Just know, this country you are protesting and hate some much, is one of the only countries that gives you the right to protest it and disrespect it. All these people disgust me!

  4. Adolphus says:

    Wow, that kid is soooo edgy. The only oppression people face in 2016, it the self-imposed kind.

    1. Adolphus says:

      (is) not it. Nip that one in the bud before the grammar nazis get hold of it.

  5. Roberta Gray says:

    Shame on channel 4. Yes, he has the right to protest. Yes, we have the right to be offended. How do you expect young people to learn that there are some things that deserve respect. How do we teach them what’s appropriate and what’s not. How about teaching him about the people who have given their lives to defend that flag and that anthem. No…. channel 4 is going to give him his 15 minutes and make a hero out of him in front of his peers. Shame on you. Tell him to find a street corner and hold a sign, but to show proper respect for this country and those who died defending his right to protest, not to mention those killed in the worst terrorist attack on this country in history. Shame, shame, shame on you all.

  6. c p says:

    Worcester High School 2nd string football player initiates Shark Jumping of the Colon Kapernick Movement.