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North Carolina radio station refusing to air ECU game after band members’ protest

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“I’ve decided that ESPN Fayetteville will ‘protest the protest,’” the station’s parent company CEO wrote.

These East Carolina fans are booing their own team’s marching band at halftime of Saturday’s game against UCF.

Before the game, several band members kneeled while playing "The Star-Spangled Banner," as band members at SMU and elsewhere have done in previous weeks.

According to someone in the stadium who asked not to be identified, "It was mostly the alumni booing. I'm above the student section. Some boos, but a lot of cheers from there."

Tuesday, one of ECU’s several radio affiliates announced it won’t air the team’s Saturday game against USF, one of the Pirates’ biggest games of the year.

In an earlier statement, ECU’s chancellor said, "We acknowledge and understand the disappointment felt by many Pirate fans in response to the events at the beginning of today’s football game" and added that "East Carolina will safeguard the right to free speech."

The protest movement sparked by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick only began to spread through major college football last weekend.

Now’s a good time to read these words by Spencer Hall:

You should be tougher about that, by the way. Your patriotism and understanding of America should be tougher. Your love for those around you should be tougher and stronger and able to listen and withstand questioning, even in the sphere of a game. You should be stronger than a brand of performative Americanism reliant on a systematic, sneering cruelty. You can’t be this fragile and survive a Tuesday, much less an entire life.

You should greet the anger you feel when you see a young black athlete protesting. Ask what sent it to you so hot and so fast in the first place, instead of rejecting it.

You will have to do the toughest thing of all for anyone in life: to love these young men, because they need that, and you need that. Not a lot, on the whole: but a little in the grand scheme of things, on Saturdays and select Thursdays in the fall, and every day in the community, just as you would anyone else in the exercise of something just beyond what the Greeks call agape.