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Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke on NFL protests: ‘I just want everybody to be together and unified’

The widespread protests among NFL players hasn’t gone unnoticed among Ole Miss’ football team.

Interim coach Matt Luke said there won’t be any protests on his team’s part, but the kneeling and locking arms by NFL players during the national anthem before their teams’ respective games has been one of the most debated topics in sports. Players, both black and white, aren’t protesting the national anthem but rather strong feelings toward racial inequality in the United States.

Those feelings only intensified over the weekend when President Donald Trump said during a recent speaking engagement that he’d call for NFL owners to “get that son of a b—- off the field right now” in reference to any player who would protest during the national anthem. More than 200 NFL players knelt or locked arms before their games Sunday and Monday, according to USA Today.

Luke offered his thoughts on the topic following the Rebels’ practice Wednesday in preparation for Saturday’s game at No. 1 Alabama (8 p.m., ESPN).

“This country is based on people having the right to have their own opinions,” Luke said. “I just want everybody to be together and unified. That would be my wish. But I can only focus on this team, and it hasn’t been an issue.”

Luke added that none of Ole Miss’ players have expressed a desire to engage in a similar protest. The Rebels don’t take the field at home games until after the national anthem has been performed.

Watch Luke talk more about the NFL protests, the statuses of center Sean Rawlings (ankle) and receiver A.J. Brown (knee) and more in the following video.