The Fight of Their Lives

Meet the team of 11- and 12-year-old mini-Kaepernicks protesting during the national anthem in southeast Texas—despite death threats and their coach’s suspension after a nonstop fight against injustice.

By Adam Harris

September 26, 2016

Football is religion in Texas. There are larger-than-life coaches, high school mega-stadiums that would make some colleges jealous and fanbases ready to erupt with every big play. It’s the pulse of the fall.

And in southeast Texas, one team is having its season—and its players’ lives—threatened for taking a knee, but it isn’t backing down.

On September 10, the Beaumont Bulls senior team, comprised of 11- and 12-year-old middle schoolers here in Beaumont, the oil town just east of Houston, sprinted onto the field. Emerging out of a cloud of smoke spewing from a giant inflatable helmet emblazoned with the Bulls logo, the team prepared to play football—a time-honored Texas tradition. But first, an even older custom: the national anthem.

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