The National Anthem protest that has enveloped the NFL has created barely a ripple in the college game — in large part because the vast majority of teams are in the locker room when it’s played — but there have been pockets of college players following the lead of their professional counterparts. One such instance came Saturday afternoon, with Pitt walk-on kicker Ian Troost going solo in kneeling for the anthem prior to the game against North Carolina State.
He wasn’t alone, though, as senior offensive tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith stood behind Troost with his hand on his shoulder.
Afterwards, Pat Narduzzi said he supported Troost’s decision.
“I’m never going to tell a guy you can’t do something,” the head coach said according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “What we’ve talked about is, if you’re going to do that, you’re trying to make a statement, we’re going to stick together. Someone had his hand on his shoulder saying, ‘We’re with you.'”
“I know I’m going to stand and put my hand over my heart,” Narduzzi added.
Troost’s teammates were supportive as well, with one stating that “[m]y take is everyone should be able to do what they think is needed to express themselves,” and another “[e]verybody has their own freedom to do as they please.”
One, however, questioned the effectiveness of this avenue of protest.
“Is really taking that knee going to prove anything?” senior cornerback Avonte Maddox said. “That’s a statement for 30 seconds. You want to take action.
“If you really want to get out and do something, we want to go out in the real world and do things to make actual change, not 30 seconds of fame making a statement out there. Is that really going to help us?”
Troost, who is white, wasn’t made available to the media by the Panthers after the game.