Almost 20 members of the Marching Pirates took a knee during the national anthem before UCF game as a form of protest. Some played their instruments, some did not. Many in the stands booed the band during the anthem and during their halftime performance.
Company chairman/CEO Jeff Andrulonis for 100.1 FM said in a statement that the band members "disgraced themselves on the football field this past weekend."
He said that he's proud of "our country and our soldiers... especially our soldiers from Fort Bragg," so the radio station will "protest the protest."
Andrulonis also told me he just expected this to be a local issue, but is already surprised at the attention it's receiving.— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) October 4, 2016
Andrulonis said in the statement that he supports the rights of the band members to protest but he says that doesn't exempt them from repercussions.
"The band members could have quietly protested in the early morning hours before the game. But that would have required them to wake up early. So instead they chose to make a spectacle of themselves in front of the big crowd at Dowdy-Ficklen. They're college students and it's about time they get an education on the concept that their actions have consequences."
A growing number of athletes and students have demonstrated across the country during the national anthem, following the lead of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He cited racial injustice and police brutality as reasons for his protest.
Band director William Staub, School of Music director Christopher Ulffers and College of Fine Arts and Communication dean Christopher Buddo issued a joint statement Monday.
They say they "regret the actions" taken by the 19 members who took a knee during the ceremonies before the game against Central Florida last week.
They say they expect the members of the Marching Pirates "will learn from this experience and fulfill their responsibilities." They call the protests "hurtful to many in our Pirate family and disrespectful to our country."
Andrulonis described Jeff Compher's statement yesterday as the school "starting to do a 180" following the Chancellor's initial response.— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) October 4, 2016
East Carolina athletic director Jeff Compher released a statement on the incident which said in part:
"We are working with the university and the school of music in response to the incident with the band prior to the game on Saturday. While the marching band does not report to athletics, we do count on them to be an important part of the game day experience."
Just spoke w Colonial Media CEO Jeff Andrulonis - told me it was the Chancellor's support for the students that "pushed him over the edge".— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) October 4, 2016
On Saturday, Dr. Cecil Staton, chancellor of East Carolina University, issued the following statement:
"As an institution of higher learning, East Carolina respects the rights of our students, staff and faculty to express their personal views. That is part of the free exchange of ideas on a university campus. While we acknowledge and understand the disappointment felt by many Pirate fans in response to the events at the beginning of today's football game, we urge all Pirate students, supporters and participants to act with respect for each other's views. Civil discourse is an East Carolina value and part of our ECU creed. We are proud that recent campus conversations on difficult issues have been constructive, meaningful exchanges that helped grow new understanding among our campus community. East Carolina will safeguard the right to free speech, petition and peaceful assembly as assured by the U.S. Constitution."
This is something else - ESPN Fayetteville radio won't carry ECU-USF because of the band protest pic.twitter.com/2UwHgkfZBZ— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) October 4, 2016