BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A group of Franklinton basketball players is getting quite a bit of attention for taking a knee as a funeral procession passed by their pickup game Friday, April 20.
Sisters Lynn Bienvenu and Johannah Stroud of Denham Springs were in the small town in Washington Parish Friday to attend the funeral of their cousin, Velma Kay Crowe.
As the funeral procession passed Franklinton Junior High School, the sisters noticed something that touched their hearts deeply. A group of local teenagers playing a game of pickup basketball saw the procession passing by. What they did next is something they tell WAFB's Scottie Hunter made them swell with a mix of emotions.
The boys stopped their game and dropped to their knees in an impromptu outpouring of support and respect to the family who had lost a loved one. The sisters did not want the moment to pass without allowing others to witness, so they snapped a quick photo and shared it on social media.
"They took a knee not out of disrespect, but out of honor," Bienvenu wrote in her post. "There was not an adult in sight to tell them to stop playing."
The picture has since exploded online, and by Sunday had been shared more than 700 times.
The kind gesture did not stop there. Bienvenu says at least one of the boys in the picture has since reached out to her personally on Facebook to express condolences to the family. He also shared the names of the other boys, identifying them as Shimar Davis, Shimon Davis, Edward James, Brandon Burton, Quindon Burris, Stacy Ard, James Bickham, Avant Money, Malachi Martin and Kalarrian Dillon.
The basketball players did not know the deceased personally but the family says others have told them that the boys have been spotted showing similar signs of respect for several other funeral processions that pass one of their games.
According to local citizens, coaches and teachers at nearby Franklinton Junior High have made a point to instill in the students the importance of showing respect when a funeral procession passes.
Bienvenu says the simple act has reminded her why she has such a huge heart for her small hometown.
"This meant a great deal to our family," Bienvenu said. " May God bless each one as I feel they will achieve greatness."