MAJOR UPDATE: The two players have been reinstated:
The Little Miami Board of Education has reinstated two high school football players to the team after they were suspended indefinitely for carrying a Thin Blue Line flag and a Thin Red Line flag onto the field when they were told not to.
In a message from the Little Miami Board of Education, President Bobbie Grice said the superintendent and the administrators had completed their investigation. “The results show that there were no political motivations behind this display of support for first responders on 9/11, but there were stances of insubordination.”
Brady and Jarad were returned to active status. The issue will now be handled as an Athletic Department Code of Conduct issue. Any possible consequences will be handled by the coaching staff.
The only flags to come through the tunnel will be the U.S. flag and the Little Miami spirit flag, according to Grice.
Grice said the district was sad to see this story take a negative turn. “The district enjoys an outstanding relationship with our local police and fire agencies. In fact, the Patriot Night program Friday night featured a script recognizing first responders, information about what happened on 9/11, a poem celebrating those who sacrificed their lives and a remembrance ceremony with a moment of silence. We regret that such a moment of solemnity was somehow lost in this event.”
This is great news and I’m glad the board of education did the right thing.
Two high school football players in Cincinnati, Ohio have been suspended indefinitely from the team for running on the field with Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags in order to honor fallen police officers and firefighters who died on 9/11:
Here’s more from Local 12:
Some local high school football players are finding that their support for first responders is coming at a huge cost.
The boys are now suspended from their team after not heeding a warning to leave the Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags that represent fallen firefighters and police officers off the field.
When the Little Miami High School football team took the field Friday, Sept. 11, a couple of players carried alongside the American flag a Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags.
“Were you trying to make some kind of a political statement here?” Local 12 asked Brady Williams, a senior cornerback.
“No,” he answered quickly. “Not at all. I was just doing it to honor the people that lost their lives 19 years ago.“
Williams was holding the Thin Blue Line flag as he rushed onto the field Friday. His father is a police officer, and he says he wanted to honor all the cops who lost their lives trying to save others on 9/11.
Jarad Bentley carried the Thin Red Line flag.
“I was all for it,” he said. “Because my dad is a firefighter, and if it had been him killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him.”
The problem is, the boys had asked the school permission prior to the game and they were denied and told if they defied the order, there would be consequences.
“Listen,” Williams said. “I don’t care what my consequences are. Ss long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy.”
The superintendent explains why he disallowed the flags being carried onto the field:
Williams and Bentley heard from the athletic director Monday afternoon and received an indefinite suspension. Local 12 had spoken with the superintendent a few hours earlier.
“We can’t have students who decide to do something anyway after they’ve been told that they shouldn’t be doing it,” said Gregory Power.
Power says he saw the flags as symbols of a political point of view and didn’t want to set a precedent.
“We did not want to place ourselves in a circumstance where another family might want a different flag to come out of the tunnel, one that may be [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” Power explained.
After Williams’ mother took to Facebook, Power says he is finding a lot of people don’t agree with his point of view and have sent hate emails and voicemails. Williams and his teammates may be finding the benefits of standing up for a cause outweigh the cost.
“I realize that this was more than just a football team; these guys are now my brothers.”
The superintendent makes a really good point about trying to keep politics out of the game and he’s not wrong that some players might want to carry other flags that we might not want to see, especially this year. But on the other hand this wasn’t political. It was the anniversary of 9/11 and these two students simply wanted to honor those police officers and firefighters who gave up their lives saving people during the worst terrorist attack this country has ever seen.
I get where the superintendent is coming from and I understand he’s setting some type of zero-tolerance policy in order to protect everyone. But you’d think that maybe he could have bent a little for the 19th anniversary of 9/11. But even if he refuses to bend, indefinite suspensions seem pretty harsh.
What do you think? If the superintendent allowed this, does he open the door to BLM flags and controversy? Is he right?