A big story out of Ohio this week. Two football players from Little Miami High School in Morrow, Ohio were suspended for taking the field carrying the American flag, a Thin Blue Line flag, and Thin Red Line flag onto the field in a pre-game gesture to show support for police and firefighters on September 11th.
The two players carrying the flags to support the police and firefighters, Brady Williams and Jared Bentley, were suspended for the remainder of the season. Superintendent Greg Power said that the flags represent a political statement and that the gesture of carrying them onto the field could be perceived as racist. Both players stated that carrying the flags was in no way a political statement and that they did so to be patriotic and to support those who serve and protect us as well as to remember and honor the police and firefighters lost on 9/11.
From the schools perspective, the players did ask permission to carry the flags prior to the game and were denied permission. They did so anyway. However, the school’s initial statements focused more on the incident being politically and possibly racially motivated.
The story quickly made national news and the backlash against the school was widespread. After a lot of pressure, the school reversed its decision and lifted the suspension. The schools claims that they looked into the incident and did not find that it was politically motivated. They said any further disciplinary actions will be left up to the football coaches. It is not expected that the coaches will seek any further punishment.
The school announced that, going forward, only the American flag and the flag for the school will be allowed. Texas has seen similar instances in the past and many schools have adopted policies of only allowing the American flag and school flag.