NORTON SHORES, MICH. - Last Sunday more than 200 NFL players took a knee during the national anthem at their games around the U.S.
Hundreds of other players, coaches, and team owners locked arms during the anthem.
It started with just a few NFL players protesting injustices people of color face in America.
The protest has grown, and may continue to expand.
Mona Shores Athletic Director Ryan Portenga says high school athletes are always watching what happens in professional sports. The student athletes are aware of the kneeling protest too.
"When an issue comes up, yes we do talk about it," Portenga said.
Issues important to the professional athletes often become relevant at the high school level too.
A while back concerns over concussions in football traversed every level of that sport.
The NFL kneeling protest is just the latest professional sports related topic high school athletic directors like Portenga are paying attention to. But Portenga has not yet seen local student athletes copying the protest.
"We work hard to have the narrative be about the student athletes and their efforts during competition," Portenga said.
While at the same time being sensitive to social issue school administrators, coaches, and players can't ignore.
"I do not care if it's a charter, private, or public institution, you want healthy respectful discussions," Portenga said.
This year the Mona Shores varsity football team is undefeated.
The season started with the "Sailor Salute". It's held annually, and the national anthem was a big part of the night.
"Sailor Salute" is a tribute to those in the Norton Shores and Muskegon County who serve their community in a variety of ways.
"We 8,000 people here that day," Portenga said.
The kneeling protest is still centered in the NFL. It's unknown if it will be something that happens across the country on Friday nights too.
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