Issue surrounding athlete response to National Anthem comes to KS community college

GARDEN CITY, Kan. The debate surrounding the National Anthem and athletes' response during the pre-game tradition comes to a Kansas community college.

Last week, a basketball player at Garden City Community College didn't stop shooting baskets during the anthem. Now, that student-athlete is off the team.

That player, Rasool Samir, kept working on his shot during the National Anthem before last Wednesday's game. Garden City Community College says he entered the court without his uniform. A fan then confronted Samir.

Kristy Temple, the director of public relations for Garden City Community College says a campus police officer got involved when the fan confronted Samir and escorted the athlete from the gym.

"Garden City Community College administration, faculty and staff take seriously the honor of the National Anthem and the safety of our students and spectators," Temple says.

Eyewitness News tried to contact Samir, but has not received a response. An article in The Garden City Telegram says the player is Muslim and tells the newspaper he has never stood for the anthem due to religious reasons. Samir tells the newspaper he didn't mean to show any disrespect to the fans or the flag.

Since Wednesday, Samir has been dismissed from Garden City Community College basketball team. The school's athletic director, John Green, says the decision was made due to a violation of team rules.

"This dismissal is not related to the National Anthem, but for conduct following the event," Green says.

Since Wednesday, Eyewitness News has learned Samir has withdrawn academically and left the college.