Head Coach Sherri Coale Appears On ESPN's Outside The Lines

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 03, 2003

March 3, 2003

BOB LEY - It is the sound and the sight that opens sporting events, an American tradition. Just as protest, is an American right. When the two collide, the images and memories are stark. An Olympic protest for black power, an attempted on-field flag burning thwarted, an NBA player, during the National Anthem, praying, rather than facing the flag, and now, with the nation braced for war, a small college basketball player stages a lone protest.

TONI SMITH, MANHATTANVILLE SENIOR FORWARD - I think too often people blindly stand-up and salute the flag without thinking about all of the things it means.

JERRY KILEY, U.S. SERVICEMAN - Toni Smith disgraced this flag and disrespected the veterans who have fought and died.

LEY - Today on Outside The Lines, what Toni Smith's personal protest means for players, for coaches, and for all Americans.

For those of a certain age, the Toni Smith controversy evokes emotional images of a turbulent time in American history. For others, well, rest assured the tempest we are seeing around the college basketball player was, for a time in the 1960s, the way that Americans largely talked to each other on social issues. There is very much a sporting dimension to this story. Issues for coaches of team cohesion, for players of loyalty to a teammate, and for all, whether the field of play is the place for such a statement.

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