According to a ruling that was made by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on Dec. 21, a high school football player cannot be prohibited by his school from kneeling as a form of protest during the national anthem. The ruling follows an instance where exactly that happened, after a player for San Pasqual Valley High School did just that prior to a game in October.

After that player protested the school banned "kneeling, sitting or similar forms of political protest," while simultaneously ordering players/coaches to "stand and remove hats/helmets … during the playing or singing of the national anthem."

As pointed out by The Los Angeles Times (and as documented in court records) San Pasqual Valley High School put those rules in place after students from a rival school in Arizona hurled racial epithets at the kneeling player prior to a game. The student/player at the center of the ruling has only been identified as a Native American player with the possibly made up initials of "V.A." According to Ira Gottlieb, an attorney at the firm representing V.A., opposing students at that game got rowdy and directed slurs at players/fans of the kneeling player's team, while also spraying a water bottle that got on a cheerleader.

Following this incident new rules were established by the school district's superintendent who directed all student-athletes to stand as it was probably the easiest way to prevent future similarly rowdy bullshit.

Still, as we've noted, that rule was struck down by a preliminary injunction granted by the aforementioned federal court. They further ruled that V.A.'s First Amendment right to political expression was violated. The ruling went on to say that schools can only derail speech when the speech being expressed could throw an institution's educational mission into disarray.

Gottlieb did add that V.A.'s legal reps will not attempt to make the injunction permanent. Additionally, it is unclear if the school will appeal the ruling.