Buzz Williams, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach showed his team the importance of respecting the National Anthem and showing appreciation for those who have served our country.
Though players kneeled to spread awareness around police brutality and racial injustice in the United States, they are causing quite a stir with their chosen method of protest.
In the video, veterans and players stand in lines facing one another as Williams speaks between them. During his talk, the coach went on to address the proper etiquette the players should abide by while listening to the song and also the meaning behind the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
“We didn’t earn those chairs,” Williams said, gesturing to the Virginia Tech bench. “Your talent didn’t earn those chairs. How tall you are and how fast you run, how well you shoot, didn’t earn those chairs. Me drawing up a play, me recruiting really hard, me working really hard, I didn’t earn the chair. These guys, when they were your age, interrupted their lives. They paused their education. They changed their career. And they gave their lives for those chairs. Do you guys understand what I’m saying? Not us, not us. And so when the anthem is played, we’re going to stand like grown men, and we’re going to honor men like this that gave their lives so we can have a chair to sit in. And then the two-and-a-half minutes that the song is played, or somebody sings it, we’re going to stand at attention and honor these men. We’re not going to sway back and forth. We’re not messing with our shorts, we’re not messing with our jersey. Those two-and-a-half minutes, we’re going to give to the people who earned these chairs, because that freedom allows us to do what we’re doing.”
While the event occurred back in November as part of the coach’s Veteran’s Day tradition, a video of it recently emerged and went viral on Facebook.
As the Hokies began their run in the ACC tournament, Williams tweeted to clarify that teaching his players about the importance of the national anthem is something he does before every season, not a response to disrespectful behavior by his players.