PHOTO: Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes, Jordan Hill protest during anthem

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No. 9 Wisconsin blew out Central Arkansas in their season-opener on Friday night, winning 79-47 in a game that never felt like it was in danger for the Badgers.

Bronson Koenig led the way with 16 points for Wisconsin while Nigel Hayes added 14 points and five assists, but the real story of this game was what happened before hand.

Hayes and teammate Jordan Hill continued a pregame protest that they practiced through Wisconsin’s two exhibitions, taking a step back from the rest of their team during the national anthem:

“You can’t take a knee on the court because my knee would hurt,” Hayes said after one of the exhibitions. “So therefore I stand back. Similar reasons why [Colin] Kaepernick does it, with the type of country we live in, the things that are going on as you see.”

Hayes has been at the forefront of political activism in college basketball. He posted an essay condemning racism on the Madison campus to his twitter account and, during a college football gameday event at Wisconsin, he held a sign to protest amateurism and the NCAA’s arcane rules.