Football players are usually measured by their speed and strength, but this year's players at Christian Brothers College High School would prefer to be measured by their character.
"CBC isn't just a team. We're not just players, we're a family and we're brothers," said 18-year-old senior Percy Brown.
But that brotherhood was recently tested.
Every year at CBC, the players design an alternate jersey to be worn at the second to last home game of the season. This one had the word honor written on the back.
"Honor means respecting the ones that came before you," explained 17-year-old senior Benji Gormley.
But a closer look reveals that the jersey also had sleeves with the stars and stripes which one day after practice led to an open, honest but difficult discussion.
"You know it was one of those moments that I just shut up and listened," said Head Coach Scott Pingel. "And I think that was just a good thing for me to hear."
The subject was Colin Kaepernick of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers who has been refusing to stand for the national anthem in protest of the treatment of African Americans and minorities in the United States.
"To me, his opinion felt very strong to what he was doing. And he was doing it for a good cause," senior Brent Bledsoe said.
"And a lot of people understood that but they thought that maybe there's another way to express your feelings," added Gormley.
The exchange was not unlike a family fight, because it was with the people you're willing to fight for.
"We tried to come to together. We tried to make a solution to the problem. We didn't just sit there and say there is a problem we tried to make a solution," said Brown.
The end result was a message of unity that they decided to put on video.
In the video called "Rise Together" were the players and coaches saying these words.
"There's so much in this world that can tear us apart. So many things that aren't fair, that aren't right, so many things that don't make sense, it furstrates me, and makes me sad, it makes me angry, our school and our team are like the real world. We are made up of guys from all parts of St. Louis, we come from different backgrounds and have different experiences, we don't always agree on everything but we listen to each other, we learn from each other, we are brothers and we love each other, together we are commited to take the next step to bring people together, and work for positive change, together, together, together."
It's a compelling idea that we can accomplish great things just by being good listeners.
"Yeah it's uncomfortable to talk about at first," said senior Brandon Zmuda. "But if we can discuss the issues everybody is going to be more comfortable about talking about it in the future."
Sometimes, the best game plans don't come from the coach.
"In the summer we talked about man-isms, "Pingel explained. "We say a boy does this and a man does this. So seeing these guys develop into what a young man should look like and what a young man should think about it's pretty powerful to watch."
One highschool football team believing in dialogue instead of monologue and that unity can be a badge of honor.
The video continued,
"We stand, we kneel together, and we rise together"