PCC Athletics turn kneeling protest into educational opportunity

PCC Athletics turn kneeling protest into educational opportunity

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Two football players at Pima Community College knelt during the national anthem before the Aztecs took on Scottsdale Community College on Saturday.

Edgar Soto, Dean of Athletics, Fitness and Wellness, was in the crowd when it happened. He said the coach had told him a few players planned to kneel at their previous game but it didn't happen.

Saturday, two freshmen players followed through.

Soto, who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, said he understands if people are upset by the gesture but the form of protest is protected in the United States.

"I understand the importance of that and instilling that in our citizens, but I also understand that living in the greatest country...you have some freedoms," he said. "If people decide to want to act a certain way, they've got that freedom."

He plans to meet with the players to understand their side of the issue and to explain his. Soto said the national issue is now a chance for everyone involved to learn.

"We should have some discussion about it," he said. "Not be so reactive, but be more proactive in trying to get everybody to see the other side...and hopefully come to some kind of resolution or something that feels good, something positive."

One of the players could not be reached for comment. The other turned down a request for an interview.

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