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DES MOINES, Iowa — The entire Des Moines Roosevelt baseball team kneeled during the national anthem ahead of its game at Principal Park on Monday.

This comes as protests continue around the world over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others who have been killed by police. 

Athletes have used kneeling during the national anthem as a way to protest police brutality and racial injustices in America. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the peaceful protest during the 2016 NFL season.

“No disrespect to the flag. It’s simply to bring attention to the issues at hand, and I think we did the right thing,” said Roosevelt senior Alex Pendergast. 

Roosevelt Activities Manager Tracy Johnson said he supports the team’s decision to kneel during the anthem. 

“It made me feel good because our kids are in it together,” said Johnson. “We want those kids to be able to express themselves, and it was neat for us to see all of our kids do that.”

Roosevelt senior Jayden Singleton said their protest is about social justice and celebrating the diversity within Des Moines Public Schools. He also echoed the message of unity within the team. 

“It shows how we are together as a team and have a strong core,” said Singleton. 

Roosevelt played Ankeny Centennial in the season opener at Principal Park. The Ankeny Centennial baseball team did not kneel during the anthem. 

Iowa is the first state in the country to resume high school sports since the COVID-19 shutdown began. Iowa’s summer baseball and softball programs began action Monday.