By James Hairston
On Friday night, five SMU Band members knelt while playing their instruments during the National Anthem in front of Ford Stadium, receiving national attention. This also took place in front of SMU’s President Gerald Turner, students, faculty and school staff, Athletic Department personnel, alums, family members, donors, guests, and TCU fans.[pullquote align=”full” cite=”RELATED: SMU band and students kneel during National Anthem” link=”http://www.smudailycampus.com/news/smu-band-members-and-students-kneel-at-smu-vs-tcu-game” color=”#034174 ” size=”14″][/pullquote]
Also in attendance were the University Park Fire Department members- honoring a fallen fireman, and the Dallas Police Chief- representing DPD and honoring the fallen officers, who died recently due to violence.
These young Band Members, dressed in SMU Band Uniform, in the SMU Ford Field Stadium, on the SMU Campus are the “Pride of SMU” and like any other athlete, student , administrator, or Board of Trustee member, they represent SMU while in their capacities of the office or team they represent.[pullquote align=”full” cite=”RELATED: Who is the Mustang band?” link=”http://www.smudailycampus.com/smulive/inside-the-spirit-of-the-mustang-band” color=”#034174 ” size=”14″][/pullquote]
They as representatives speak for a community, and in my opinion their behavior was shameful and not proper or acceptable to our school!
These members, as individuals, can exercise their free speech at any time, in their space- not affiliated with SMU at any time. But, during the National Anthem or anytime they are representing SMU, in any capacity, this is unacceptable.
It is time for The SMU Band Director, the SMU Athletic Department, SMU’s Administration and SMU’s Board of Trustees to condemn this behavior and remove these members from the Band. The School is bigger than these individuals. We have students, parents and donors who look at SMU as a place to send their children, invest their resources to help enable to continue to educate students and Alums -proud of their school- who I feel were disrespected by the band members in a public and humiliating fashion. To see these band members disrespect the Community, the City of Dallas and the country is not acceptable to me.
James Hairston graduated from SMU in 1983 with a B.S. in psychology. He has 12 family members who have graduated from SMU and is currently the president of New Capital Funding Dallas.