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5 SMU band members kneeled in protest while playing the national anthem

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Here's what happened before the Mustangs' Friday game against TCU.

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Before SMU’s game against TCU in Dallas on Friday, a handful of SMU marching band members and students took to their knees while playing the national anthem.

The Dallas Morning News reported five (not four) black members of the band took to one knee during the song, along with members of the student section. The DMN quotes one student, Coda Boyce, who it says wore a shirt that read #BlackAtSMU:

"I feel like coming from an African American background -- I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, which is a predominantly black city -- that I get tired of seeing my black brothers and sisters dying from injustices and unjustified reasons," Boyce said.

"I'm not against all police officers, I'm not saying all cops are bad, I'm not saying all Caucasian people are bad, because they're not," Boyce said. "I just believe that the injustice being shown in the past couple of years has been too much to handle. And I'm a little tired of it.

"So if I have to knee during the national anthem -- I still support the troops, and I still support the police officers who are doing their rightful job."

SMU is using this game to honor Dallas first-responders, two months after a gunman killed five police officers in the city. The students "weren't targeting their demonstration to specifically take place during this game," a group of them told the DMN.

Another student view:

And a wider look:

In the weeks since Colin Kaepernick first sat during the anthem at an NFL preseason game, scores of athletes have taken a knee, raised a fist or otherwise demonstrated during the song. (Importantly, we don’t yet know what message the kneeling band members wanted to get across here.)

This isn’t the first time musicians at sporting events have taken a knee while playing the anthem. A few nights ago, a school band playing The Star-Spangled Banner at an Oakland A’s game did so while kneeling and said it was a demonstration:

The OUSD Honor Band played the National Anthem before tonight's#Oakland A's game. Near the end of the song, most of the 155 middle and high school students took a knee in protest against police brutality and unfair treatment of people of color in #America. The crowd responded with enthusiastic applause.#iamOUSD