Maury High School football players kneel during National Anthem

Posted at 10:58 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 06:47:56-04

NORFOLK, Va. - During a Friday night football game between Maury High School and Grassfield High School, a majority of the Maury players knelt during the National Anthem and their coach is backing them up.

"Their message is, there are inequalities and things happening in their life and in Norfolk they want to bring attention to," said Coach Chris Fraser.

Fraser told News 3 since Friday's game, they have gotten lots of backlash, but he doesn't believe the players were being disrespectful.

"I have absolutely no problem with it. To me, they were being respectful. They look their helmets off, they took a knee, they were quiet during the national anthem," said Fraser.

But a former commander and current Veterans of Foreign War member disagrees.

"As a veteran, it's disappointing due to the fact the national anthem isn't part of the protesting side of the house. The National Anthem is about serving our country and the men and women before me who have died for our country. It's about respect and honor," said Melissa Barnes.

Justin Lee, who recorded video of the players kneeling said he didn't expect it to happen.

"I was kind of a little shocked because I hadn't seen anything any mass teams especially on a younger level, which who would've though they'd have that much thought or pull by kneeling," said Lee.

Coach Fraser said he doesn't want his players to stop with taking knee, he just wants them to take some steps.

"Now we need to get out in the community and make a difference. Whether we go into elementary schools and talk to the young kids or we're a presence out in the neighborhoods, but it's about being role models and doing the right thing in the community," said Fraser.

For Barnes, she feels conflicted. "I know they have a right and they have a purpose but I just don't know if the way they're going about it is the right way."