About 20 students sat during the National Anthem at Saturday's game against Iowa State. (Sam Bruton/ TCU360)

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An organizer of the silent protest during the national anthem at Saturday’s football game, said the group of students wants to spark dialogue about social justice.

“We just wanted to start a direct conversation on this campus in regards to the social injustices of our country and ask people to form their own opinions while respecting the opinions of others,” Diona Willis, a senior political science major, wrote in an email interview Monday.

Willis said the group has not decided to protest at the next home game.

Reaction to the 20 or so students who didn’t stand during the national anthem was divided both on campus and on social media.

“They weren’t saying they hate America,” said Danielle Bradford, a sophomore business major. “They weren’t saying they hate TCU. They were saying they don’t like what’s going on in the country.”

But Marthann White, a first-year education major, said she would not have participated.

Some critics of the action, which was started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, said that it was disrespectful to the military.

“There are people fighting overseas for a bigger reason,” said Sarah Riley, a sophomore biology major. “Our flag represents those soldiers fighting for our freedom.”

“I think that sitting during it is more disrespectful to those people overseas who are risking their lives,” Riley said.

Other students however cited the First Amendment and supported the students’ right to protest.

“I definitely feel everybody should be able to voice how they feel if they feel they’re being discriminated against or oppressed,” said Delaney Saragusa, a sophomore special education major.