Georgia and Ole Miss played an exciting, down-to-the-wire SEC basketball game on Saturday in Oxford.
But it was what took place before the game in Mississippi that sent a ripple across the nation.
According to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, as many as eight of the Rebels basketball players knelt during the ceremonial playing of the national anthem and display of the American flag before the game.
Several Players from @OleMissMBB kneeling for the national anthem. pic.twitter.com/3fLNXoiFm1— NewsWatch Ole Miss (@NewsWatch_UM) February 23, 2019
None of the Georgia players or staff kneeled.
The Mississippi Clarion Ledger reported that as the Ole Miss players were preparing for the game, "almost 100 pro-Confederate supporters gathered in town to protest the University of Mississippi's past actions to remove Confederate emblems and songs, as well as the discontinuation of mascot Colonel Reb."
The march has begun with a "God Bless Dixie" chant pic.twitter.com/nmu2gq3qv1— Nick Suss (@nicksuss) February 23, 2019
First-year Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said he supported his players' decision to kneel during the display of the American flag and national anthem.
“This was all about the hate groups that came to our community and tried to spread racism and bigotry in our community,” Davis said. “It created a lot of tension for our campus. And I think our players made an emotional decision to show these people they’re not welcome on our campus, and we respect our players’ freedom and ability to choose that.”
The Rebels beat the Bulldogs, 72-71, when UGA guard Tyree Crump missed a last-second shot attempt.
Here are Kermit and Breein Tyree talking about today's #OleMiss and #Oxford marches pic.twitter.com/5ErOAnGrFT— Nick Suss (@nicksuss) February 23, 2019
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC