Yale standout supports teammates, takes knee
By DESMOND CONNER | The Hartford Courant (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 29, 2017
Yale senior left tackle Karl Marback didn't want to talk about joining his black teammates in kneeling near the sideline at Yale Bowl two weeks ago.
He refused a request to talk about it then, after the Bulldogs blanked Holy Cross, 32-0, but that was two weeks ago. Marback, a semifinalist for the William Campbell Trophy awarded to the nation's top football student-athlete, came to the press room ready to discuss it Saturday after the Bulldogs' 23-6 over Columbia, the 900th win in school history.
"I'm just out there to support my guys, but they put it out like, 'Hey, this is something we're going to do. If you want to join us, join us, if you don't, don't; that's cool," the 6-foot-5, 296-pound Marback said. "As soon as the guys decided that's something they wanted to do, I just wanted to be there to support them."
Most of the players who are kneeling on the Bulldogs sideline are black, but there are white Yale football players supporting them, such as Marback, wide receiver JP Shohfi and a few others.
Will there be more?
"I'm not keeping track but the really good thing this time, compared to last time, is as the guys came up to us, the guys who weren't going to kneel, they came to us and said, 'Hey, how about you guys get in front of us, then we can put our hands on you.' They were being very supportive even if kneeling wasn't something they wanted to do. They were being very supportive of their teammates. The last time all the guys were kneeling by the D [defensive] bench behind the guys, standing; this time we were up on the sideline."
Interestingly enough, Saturday was Hero's Day at Yale Bowl, where the military and veterans were recognized. They were asked to stand and received a long standing ovation.
Marback is a biomedical engineering major who helped build a rocket that climbed 10,000 feet. He collected microbes from the air to learn more about what is living in the atmosphere in his sophomore year.
He didn't have to be a rocket scientist to understand why the players are doing what they're doing, raising awareness on serious issues affecting them such as racial injustice and police brutality.
"I do not think kneeling is a disrespectful act," Marback said. "I think kneeling is a very humbling, very respectful thing to do. I believe the actual way the kneeling came about was that Colin Kaepernick decided to sit and he spoke with a veteran who felt sitting would be disrespectful and the veteran said it would be respectful for him to kneel. It came from a veteran.
"I think it's possible to respect something and see the flaws in something at the same time. I think there's no problem with wanting to see things change but not lacking respect for what it is."
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