Barnes backs Ole Miss players for protesting hate

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Multiple Ole Miss basketball players knelt during the national anthem before Saturday's game -- a 72-71 win against Georgia.

After the game, players and coaches were asked about the action.

“This was all about the hate groups that came to our community and tried to spread racism and bigotry in our community,” said Head Coach Kermit Davis.

There were reportedly hate groups on Ole Miss' campus that same day, rallying in support of Confederate symbols.

“The majority of it was we saw one of our teammates doing it, and we just didn’t want him to be alone," said Breein Tyree, a junior on the team.

Tennessee will travel to Oxford, Miss. on Wednesday to take on the Rebels.

On Monday, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes was asked about the situation.

"I really admire and understand those young men because they made it clear that they had no intentions of disrespecting the American flag. It was all about the hate crimes and the fact that they felt like they had to demonstrate, and I admire them for that. That shouldn't be anywhere. I think the way their administration handled that is terrific, and the fact that they were willing to stand up for what they believe in, what we should all believe actually, is a good thing. I don't know if there's anything else planned for this week down there, I don't know. Maybe that was a weekend thing that they had. That's all I can tell you."

Tennessee and Ole Miss will tip-off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.