Orlando Gooden was once a college football player for the University of Missouri. Now he coaches an eight-and-under Cahokia Quarterback Club football team in Illinois.
Last week, one of Gooden’s football players asked him a question. He explained:
“One of the kids asked me if I saw (people) protesting and rioting in St. Louis. I said yes; I said, ‘Do you know why they are doing it?’”
The little athlete told his coach that the protesters are protesting “because black people are getting killed and nobody’s going to jail.” Gooden told FOX2Now that his kids were also aware of the Jason Stockley decision.
— St. Louis Magazine (@stlmag) September 8, 2017
According to earlier reports, Jason Stockley is the former St. Louis police officer who was found not guilty of murder last week. Stockley was standing trial after he shot and killed a black man following a car chase in 2011.
Gooden admitted that he discussed the Stockley decision, as well as other cases around the country with his team. He then explained why former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL superstars started kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.
— CBC Day 6 (@CBCDay6) September 10, 2017
He told FOX2News:
“One of the kids asked, ‘Can we do that?’
I said, ‘As long as we know why we’re doing it, I don’t have a problem with any of it.’”
That upcoming Saturday, every, single member of Gooden’s Cahokia Quarterback Club football team took a knee at the start of the national anthem.
As the video shows, the third graders’ backs were also turned to the flag, but that was an accident, Gooden explained. According to FOX2News, all of the kids’ parents knew about the mini protest and fully supported Gooden and the athletes.
“What I teach my kids is love, integrity, honesty, fairness, respect and boundaries. […]
As long as I have support of my parents and team, I’m perfectly fine, and I’m covered under the First Amendment to peacefully protest and assemble.”
After a video of the protest was posted to Facebook by Gooden’s wife, he did receive some backlash. Many of those who disagreed with the team’s decision to kneel called for him to be fired:
However, Gooden did tell FOX2Now that his players will not continue kneeling before games because he doesn’t see a need for it. It was done once, and a lesson was learned.