Coach Steve Ryan is not unaware of the football protests occurring across the country.
Coach Ryan is the head football coach at Morningside College, and when asked about what he would do if a player on his team did decide to protest he responded “I would talk to them about it and why they feel the need to protest and make a statement, I would want as a member of the team to know why you feel you need to make the statement.” His team is currently in the locker room for the anthem not giving his players a chance to protest. He stated “that is more of a timing situation” and if the team came to him wanting to be out there for the anthem he is willing to allow them to be out there.
When asked about whether the student-athlete handbook asked about whether the phrase ‘The involvement of student-athletes in any incidents which may bring dishonor to them will also dishonor their team and Morningside College. Such involvement is unacceptable and will not be tolerated’ applies to this situation he responded “I don’t believe that is the intent of the phrase, however it is broad enough that it can be applied in the situation. However I think it does go back to the mentality of being in third grade and standing for the pledge of allegiance.” He also said that he did have a meeting with his players before the year began that included a talk about possible protests, he couldn’t comment on what was said in the meeting but he does feel that he doesn’t have to worry about his players protesting this year.
While there are schools around the area, most recently Buena Vista, he said that he doesn’t believe that protesting will be an issue for the team. He said part of growing up is questioning why you do certain things and that sometimes leads to protesting. He also has said that if a player approached him before a game saying they would like to go out and protest he would not allow them to do so on a spur of the moment decision, however if the team as a whole wanted to be out for the national anthem he would allow that.