The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team has received support from their university president and athletic director after kneeling during a game.
ESPN reports that on Jan. 9, the team knelt moments before tip-off against the University of Florida Gators to peacefully protest against social injustice after Donald Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.
Facing criticism on social media about their decision to kneel, a local sheriff, John Root, also posted a video of him burning University of Kentucky paraphernalia, the outlet notes.
In the now-deleted Facebook video, Sheriff Root said, "To think that a so called Coach and team would take such actions sickens me." Local officials also asked state lawmakers to defund the university.
University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and athletic director Mitch Barnhart issued a joint statement in response to the backlash.
"We won't always agree on every issue. However, we hope to agree about the right of self-expression, which is so fundamental to who we are as an institution of higher learning. We live in a polarized and deeply divided country. Our hope—and that of our players and our coaches—is to find ways to bridge divides and unify."
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)