A college basketball player who is Muslim was kicked off the team because he kept taking practice shots on the court while everyone else stood at attention for the national anthem.
Rasool Samir has filed a First Amendment complaint with the ACLU, which states his religion, Islam, forbids acts of reverence other than to their god, Allah. The incident occurred on November 1 at Garden City Community College (GCCC) in Kansas. Samir’s teammates exited the court and stood on the sidelines while the anthem played. Samir stayed on the court and continued warming up. When the anthem was over, a booster for the school confronted Samir and it turned physical. The two were separated by security. As The Blaze reports, the coach took the player to the locker room and advised him to head back to his dorm. Samir was later told he was off the team and a plane ticket was purchased for him to go home to Philadelphia.
GCCC says Samir violated team rules by not leaving the court with the others. Its athletic director, John Green, claims the dismissal was due to how Samir acted after the incident and “is not related to the national anthem.” Green also said it was Samir’s idea to withdraw from the school.
The ACLU is seeking clarification over the dismissal:
GCCC’s inconsistent explanations have made it difficult to ascertain the school’s official position as to why Samir is no longer on the team roster. These shifting explanations also suggest that neither reason is true.
Because we are concerned that Samir was kicked off the team for exercising his First Amendment rights, we ask that you please provide us with GCCC’s response to his allegations.
According to the complaint, Samir was not protesting, but following the rules of his religion. However, he could have followed team rules and stayed quiet while everyone observed the patriotic moment. It’s unclear how Samir’s First Amendment rights were violated.
Jim Howard was the man who confronted Samir on the court. We leave you with his on-point commentary:
“I’ve had enough of disrespecting our flag. I’ve been raising money for 32 years for this college, trying to help pay for scholarships for these kids. If they’re not going to respect our flag, then they need to get off our campus and out of Garden City.”