A high school basketball team in Pennsylvania is making waves for the T-shirts it wore before a championship game on Tuesday displaying a clear response to President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order.
The shirt reads “I am a Muslim. I am a refugee. I am an immigrant. I am an American. I am an Ace.”
All of the players on the Lower Merion High School team were wearing the shirts during warm-ups.
According to Philly.com, the team has worn the shirts before their last four games. The decision has been with some familiar opposition to athletes taking political stances at sporting events.
The players could be seen wearing the shirts and interlocking arms during national anthem.
The school district and the coach said that the team has their full support.
“The district supports and respects our students’ right to express themselves and share their voices in an appropriate manner,” Assistant Coach and Lower Merion School District Communications Director Doug Young said Wednesday. “The conversations the kids had before they started doing this were very powerful. The kids were in fact very open, honest and forthright.”
“There hasn’t been a lot of negative feedback. I think most people understand that it’s a message of inclusivity for all. I think that’s what the players are trying to get at with this,” he added.
Coach Gregg Downer also said the team has his support.
“We’ve had some very good conversations about this behind closed doors,” he said. “The kids decided they wanted to do this, and we support what they’re doing.”
He also said that he was conscious of other high-profile demonstrations by athletes. Colin Kaepernick invariably comes to mind.
“Before the T-shirt, the coaches were hearing about [kneeling during the anthem] in certain situations. That’s OK. I respect the opinions of others,” he said. “This is not out of disrespect to the military. The T-shirt has brought some clarity to the players’ reasoning. We’re standing as a united front. At the end of the day, we’re still a basketball team.”
The team says it plans to continue wearing the shirts.
NBA legend Kobe Bryant went to this high school.