HS football player takes knee during National Anthem after locker room slur

Published: Sep. 9, 2016 at 10:07 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2016 at 5:46 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK, OH (WOIO) - An African-American football player for Brunswick High School took a knee at a recent game in support of Colin Kaepernick and on what he calls racial injustice.

Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, has been protesting the National Anthem until he says racial tensions ease in the country. (Kaepernick will sit through anthem until there's change)

The response to 16-year-old Rodney Axson's protest has not been of support, but racial slurs and name calling by several other students.

Axson said he took a stand because he wanted to protest a racial slur he heard in his own locker room.

Axson planned to do it again Friday night at the game against Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School, but players were left in the locker room while the National Anthem was played.

Rodney Axson Sr. explained what his son told him.

"It was a few players in the locker oom saying we're going to us the N-word with a hard 'R' tonight.  They didn't know my son was in the locker room.  At that time, he came from where he was and approached the guys and said, 'Excuse me, what do you mean by that?'  They said, 'This don't include you.  You're from Brunswick.'  He said, 'I'm African-American, it does include me. I appreciate if y'all didn't say that.'"

Axson said some of the players used the N-word anyway.  They went on the field and stood for the National Anthem.

"Another kid said it before the National Anthem.  So he kneeled down, took a knee and prayed along with two other kids on the team."

The backlash against Rodney has been vile, his father said.

"Called him a worthless N.  That upset him.  It was other things such as he was ignorant for doing it.  He's making black people look worse
than they already are."

Axson carry's a 3.5 GPA, the highest on the team.

"I did lot of things in life to get to where we had to get to make sure my family was safe.  I thought moving to a community like Brunswick,
we'd be safe, keep them away from gun violence and come out here and have to deal with racial things."

According to the district's superintendent, the students who took part in the incident have been disciplined.

We are still investigating various incidents of inappropriate and racially motivated conduct by students at Brunswick High School.  We are cooperating fully with law enforcement as well.  As such, we will not comment further until such time as we have a reasonable grasp on all the facts.  However, let me say that a statement which has circulated on social media connected with this investigation is reprehensible and I am deeply disappointed that any of our students would participate in its publication.  Racial slurs and hate speech have no place in the Brunswick schools and those found complicit in such misconduct will be dealt with accordingly.
This is a statement I have never even conceived that I might need to release. I am saddened to have to do so.
Michael Mayell

A snapshot of a note with the slurs were tweeted out. The N-word was used and the word "lynching" was also written on the paper.

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