What is going on at Bluefield College?

Bluefield College is a Christian college located in Bluefield, Virginia. (Bluefield College is not to be confused with Bluefield State College, a Historical Black College and University). It is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges & Universities.

Recently, the Bluefield College men’s basketball team was suspended for kneeling during the national anthem. ESPN is on the story:

An NAIA school in Virginia forfeited its men’s basketball game Thursday after suspending players for kneeling during the national anthem before several games in January and February.

In a statement Thursday, Bluefield College president David Olive said that after players knelt before multiple games in January and February, even after he’d told them to stop, he decided to suspend all athletes involved, which resulted in a forfeit of the NAIA Appalachian Athletic Conference game against Reinhardt.

“The basis for my decision stemmed from my own awareness of how kneeling is perceived by some in our country, and I did not think a number of our alumni, friends, and donors of the College would view the act of kneeling during the anthem in a positive way,” Olive said.

In the statement, Olive, who is white, recounted an ongoing discussion with coaches, players and the school’s athletic director, Tonia Walker, who is Black, over kneeling during the anthem, but suspensions were handed down only after media reports surfaced last week.

Olive said he became aware on Feb. 1 that players had knelt during the anthem for the previous home game and later learned that the same had occurred in two prior road games. At that point, he informed coach Richard Morgan that kneeling during the anthem would not be tolerated.

This stands in direct contrast with what the basketball team was told before the season, according to Bluefield football player Jewels Gray, who is close with many members of the basketball team and has discussed the suspensions with players. Gray said the basketball players were told they were not allowed to release a statement of their own or speak to the media.

Read the rest here. David Olive issued a statement here.

40% of the Bluefield College student body is African American.

ADDENDUM (5:35pm): I am learning that the Bluefield College community is pushing back on Olive’s statement.