SANTA MARIA, Calif. - An athletic director on the Central Coast is weighing in after NFL players kneeled in solidarity or locked arms during the National Anthem this past weekend.
NFL players across the country used their platform to send a message.
"I hope it’s getting sent that you are a role model in that industry and you have the ability to draw attention to causes,” said Greg Lanthier, Athletic Director for Pioneer Valley High School.
Lanthier described this weekend’s protest as a complex issue, urging Central Coast athletes to fully understand the causes they stand up for.
"The reality is they have the right to protest or express themselves as long as it’s a non-violent matter,” he said.
Lanthier said there are no rules set in stone at Pioneer Valley. Athletes have a right to kneel during the National Anthem if they choose to.
"There have never been any rules just as you see in the NFL. It’s not part of the protocol, it's part of a tradition,” Lanthier said.
This protest that has sent ripples through the sports world is something Lanthier said he has already talked to students about.
"I would hope they [the students] have thought about it. I hope they don’t take the stance of 'well the NFL guys are doing it so let’s do it,'” he added.
There is no plan in place to discuss the protest school-wide but, Lanthier said they will deal with if student athletes decide this is something they want to do.
"The flag encompasses so many things. It means so many things to so many people,” Lanthier said. It's a message he said is important for athletes to keep in mind.
"To me if you want to protest it has to be simple, concise and have sympathy from others and I’m not sure that’s getting accomplished,” Lanthier said.