PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The family of a middle school student accuses a football coach of berating their son for kneeling during the national anthem.
Jalin Warren was with his middle school team at a David Douglas High School football game on Friday night when he took a knee. He said his decision made his coach, Fernando Castillo, angry.
“I took a knee and he told me to get up,” said the 7th-grade Floyd Light Middle School student.
Jalin’s dad, Elijah Warren, said the coach’s attempt to make Jalin stand up “actually caused a big commotion and got his teammates involved.”
Jalin said his coach gave him an ultimatum: stand up or be benched for the next game.
The coach’s actions haven’t won any points with Elijah, who said his son got the idea to kneel after watching Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers take a knee at a game in 2016.
“Kids have the right to kneel,” he said. “There’s no rule saying they have to stand.”
Elijah added that his son is aware of the history behind his actions.
“There’s more than sports to it — everything people do is more than sports,” Jalin said.
The school district told KOIN 6 News it is investigating the incident:
“This event is not representative of David Douglas School District or its students and staff. We will take appropriate action to ensure the beliefs of our students, families, and staff are equally respected.”
Coach Castillo was absent from this week’s game as middle school players, including Jalin, took the field. Elijah hopes the coach is gone for good.
“I feel like he crossed a line; even as a parent, I just don’t think he should be leading young men,” Elijah said.