West freshman explains reasons for kneeling during anthem
"I'm standing up for what I believe in in that I've actually experiences racism at school for like, the past three years."
Early in the 2017 volleyball season, Sioux City West freshman Nia Moore discussed with her mother the idea of kneeling for the national anthem.
Marisa Cummings says, "Nia told me that she was interested in kneeling, and I said there's a lot of things we have to think about. Repercussions, hate that's going to happen."
Nia adds, "Before the game I was having second thoughts about it and then I was shaking and felt scared because one of my teammates didn't support me at all. She told me that my coach wouldn't play me if I did it, but I did it anyway."
It didn't take long for teammates Jada and Halie Smith to join Nia in kneeling for the anthem.
"The first time I kneeled by myself and then the second time, both my teammates stepped in and supported me."
As is the case with every athlete who's chosen to kneel for the anthem, Nia and her teammates have received a wide array of reactions from their peers.
Nia says, "After I kneeled, peple were saying mean stuff about it, like calling me the n-word and some people were supporting me too. My coaches and all my teammates supported me through it and they told me that they're proud of me for standing up for what I believe in.
Sioux City Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman adds, "They did so within the guidelines of the policy where they are free to express that which they believe is important if done in a respectful manner."
The Moore's also want it to be known that their protest is not meant to convey any disrespect for the military.
"My grandparents and my great grandparents were in the military", says Nia. "And they would be proud of me for what I'm doing."
Cummings adds, "I've had military veterans that have offered their support. Some that have said it's not my place to say whether it's right or wrong. It's never been about the flag. It's about justice and equality."