Arlington student sang national anthem during NFL controversy

ARLINGTON, MD (WUSA9) - A teenage girl found herself wedged right in the middle of a firestorm during Sunday night football.

Samantha Rios was chosen to sing the national anthem during the Redskins vs. Warriors game, but she had no idea it would be on the same night as a widespread NFL protest.

Rios is a junior at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va.

She said she was shaking because it was her first time performing live in front of a crowd that size.

“It was awesome last night. It was a dream come true,” Rios said.  

RELATED: Tom Brady calls Trump's comments on NFL protests 'just divisive'

Rios was booked to sing before the national anthem controversy blew up.

It just so happens she comes from one of the communities where many people face the issues that the players were protesting in the first place.

“I got a few texts that day saying 'you know what, Samantha. Just sing your heart out even though what's going on right now. Just focus on the song and the lyrics.’ I was like ok. I'm here to sing so I just sang my heart out,” Rios said.

Samantha was born in America and raised in Arlington.

He mom is from Ecuador, and my dad is from Honduras.

“My mom came here when she was just 16 years old. She came here to work. Then she went to cosmetology school,” Rios said. “She opened up her own beauty salon and her own beauty academy. I just work really hard to make her proud.”

Samantha's mother did not want her to pick a side or go into much detail about the protest because of the sensitivity of the topic.

Samantha has goals of going to college and becoming a professional musician.

This was not her first time performing for a national audience.

Rios was a finalist on the Hispanic version of The Voice – a show called La Voz Kids.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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