Two female students at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg were reportedly attacked on Saturday night after refusing to stand for the national anthem, according to WDAM.
The incident allegedly took place during Saturday night’s USM vs. Rice University football game. One of the students said that after refusing to stand for the anthem, people threw drinks at them and called them “unpatriotic f*cks” and “disrespectful b*tches,” the Root reports.
Some have speculated that the individuals who attacked the two students were members of a USM fraternity, though it remains unclear at this time whether they are USM students.
Eddie Holloway, the Dean of Students at USM said, “Once we determine the participants, we will act in accordance with code of student conduct of The University of Southern Mississippi.”
The University’s president, Rodney Bennett also said there would be a full investigation of the incident and noted, “I am deeply concerned whenever members of our community feel they are not treated with dignity that each individual deserves,” the Root reports.
Two students were attacked Saturday night at the USM vs. Rice University football game for refusing to stand for National Anthem pic.twitter.com/sZidVChiblADVERTISEMENT
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Students and athletes across the country have taken a stand against the national anthem since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a protest during the NFL’s preseason by first taking a seat and then a knee at the start of each game.
At the time, he told NFL Media in an interview, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
According to the Guardian’s The Counted, at least 30 black Americans have been killed by police since Kaepernick started his protest in August. However, it seems that for many, protesting a national symbol is more uncomfortable than the staggering rates of racialized police violence.
Kaepernick’s protest has sparked similar actions at middle schools, high schools and on college campuses across the country where students have kneeled and raised black power fists. The Oakland high school football team even staged a die-in protest ahead of a game on September 24.
Saturday’s incident is currently under investigation as university police review video footage.