DECATUR — After a team decision to stay in the locker room for Saturday's game against Augustana, one Millikin football player stood on the sideline for the national anthem.
Connor Brewer, a offensive lineman from Rochester, stood alone on Millikin's sidelines during the anthem, sprinting back to the locker room after it finished.
Brewer was on the field for warmups with the rest of the Millikin football team, but stayed as the team went back to the locker room. Millikin assistant athletic director Bryan Marshall said Brewer's decision partly stemmed from a military background in his family, and Marshall said the university supports Brewer's decision to stand.
Various attempts to contact Brewer were not successful. Marshall said Brewer told White he did not want to speak about his action.
Several football players were contacted, but had been asked by the coaching staff not to talk to media. A few made brief comments about the nearly week-long controversy before declining to say anything further.
"I really think it's been a big misunderstanding," lineman Travis Goveia said. "I think a lot of people are taking it the wrong way."
"We're one unit, we're brothers, 100 percent," wide receiver Gerald Perry added.
The decision to remain in the locker room, which was determined by a team vote, will likely be addressed again, Marshall said. Staying in the locker room has drawn the ire of alumni and others, many saying the actions are disrespectful to the flag while others are saying the athletes' free speech is being stifled.
The decision came after a few Millikin football players took a knee during the anthem in the game against North Central on Sept. 24. Gritti then talked with the team about the best way to handle it moving forward, and the team consensus was to stay in the locker room, an action common with college football programs.
Millikin did not practice on Monday, an off day.
Brewer, a sophomore, is a starting lineman for the Big Blue.