David M. Hale ESPN Staff Writer
North Carolina sophomore Jerome Simpson led a group of about 20 protesters at last week's Tar Heels game with little fanfare, but as word continued to spread, the crowd more than doubled for today's home game against Pitt.
Simpson and about 50 other protesters in the west end zone sat with raised fists during the playing of the national anthem in protest of police violence against black civilians. Simpson said he was inspired by Colin Kaepernick and wanted to support athletes who had been receiving criticism for speaking out.
Simpson said several fans sitting nearby criticized the group for not standing during the anthem, but Simpson said it is not the group's intention to offend.
"We're not anti-police department or anti military," Simpson said. "The police here in Chapel Hill have been very supportive about making sure this is a welcoming environment. I love that our troops fight for our rights to be able to do this."