TU responds after football player kneels during national anthem

The player has garnered both support and backlash.

TULSA, Okla. — Quick facts:

  • Keanu Hill kneeled during the national anthem at a football game Saturday.
  • Hill plays football for TU.
  • The school said Hill is free to express himself, but his actions do not represent the school as a whole.

A University of Tulsa football player is facing backlash after he chose to kneel during the national anthem Saturday.

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School officials confirmed that Keanu Hill, a junior cornerback from California, kneeled as the national anthem played Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

Hill's actions mirror those of other athletes kneeling during the anthem to protest the oppression of people of color and other minorities within the United States.

The protests started with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during preseason games.

University officials said they allow students to practice free expression and open discussion of perspectives and opinions.

They said Hill's actions do not speak for the school as a whole.

Don Tomkalski, the senior associate athletic director for communications at the university, released a full statement Sunday:

"Following the Tulsa team prayer at Saturday's football game in Columbus, student-athlete Keanu Hill continued to kneel as the National Anthem was played. A university setting is a place of free expression and open discussion of differing perspectives and opinions, however the actions of one do not speak for an entire group and – in this instance – not for The University of Tulsa Athletics. The National Anthem and salute to the flag are ways we show thanks for our freedom and respect for the men and women who have served our country."