With a pro-Confederate rally taking place nearby, a total of eight Ole Miss basketball players took a knee during the national anthem before their home game against Georgia. While at the moment, it’s unknown why the players kneeled but it’s very likely due to the on-campus rally about a mile away from the game.
For perspective, in case you're not aware, there is a pro-Confederate (whatever that is) rally on Oxford's Square today, about a mile from The Pavilion at Ole Miss, where Ole Miss is playing Georgia this afternoon.
— Neal McCready (@NealMcCready) February 23, 2019
According to ESPN, six players kneeled throughout the anthem with two others taking a knee during the final line.
Ole Miss as a school has attempted to distance itself from its past and move forward. That has included banning such things as the Confederate flag, the Colonel Reb mascot and the marching band not playing the song Dixie. According to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, nearly 100 people participated in the rally with the reason being that they were against the school for removing those things. A counter-rally was nearby to oppose the pro-Confederate rally.
— NewsWatch Ole Miss (@NewsWatch_UM) February 23, 2019
ESPN noted that when head coach Kermit Davis took the Old Miss job in March, he mentioned in his introductory press conference that he would have a team “that respects the flag and the national anthem.”