bluefield, va. — The Bluefield College men’s basketball team forfeited in advance an Appalachian Athletic Conference game that was supposed to take place at Rinehardt University Thursday in Waleska, Ga.

Late Tuesday night, the Bluefield College administration issued a media release titled: “Bluefield College President Responds to Kneeling At Athletic Event.”

“At a recent game, some of our student-athletes chose to kneel during our National Anthem to protest racial injustices,” read the official statement from the college attributed to Bluefield College President David Olive.

“Dialogue on this issue has taken place on the national level for several years, but it has now been localized with our students’ actions,” the statement read.

The Rams defeated Tennessee Wesleyan 80-74 at the Dome Gymnasium on the Bluefield College campus, on Tuesday.

Rams head coach Richard Morgan declined comment on the cited incident, noting that athletic staff have been instructed to make no further remarks on the matter beyond Olive’s released statement.

Bluefield College sports information had no comment on today’s forfeit with Rinehardt other than reporting that there had been an unspecified violation of team rules that resulted in players being suspended and the game subsequently being forfeited.

Olive’s extended statement indicated that the Bluefield College administration does not take a punitive position against any Rams players who may have participated in the kneeling incident.

“At Bluefield College, we are challenging our campus community to move beyond symbolism to engage in constructive conversations and take action to create a better nation and tomorrow. This academic year, our campus community began and ongoing discussion on racial reconciliation and justice. There are many issues that need to be addressed in our nation and our communities,” the statement continued.

“We also do not believe in cancel culture and walking away from our students, especially as they are growing and developing as some have called for on social media channels.

“Our mission is to be a Christ-centered learning community. Every college and organization can be seen as a snapshot of our world with individuals who have varying life experiences and perspectives. Being in a living-learning community requires difficult conversations, and it is our hope that from them we all will grow,” the statement concluded.

Morgan said he expected his basketball team to return to action in a slated Appalachian Athletic Conference game with Milligan University at the Dome Gymnasium at 6 p.m. on Monday.

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