Two high school football players in Ohio have learned the hard way that showing support for police officers and firefighters won’t be treated the same as showing support for Black Lives Matter.
Two players on the Little Miami High School football team have been suspended for carrying Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags (which represent fallen police officers and firefighters, respectively) onto the field before their game on September 11, 2020.
The players insist their statements were not political in nature.
“I was just doing it to honor the people that lost their lives 19 years ago,” Brady Williams, a senior, told Local 12. Brady carried the Thin Blue Line flag onto the field. His father is a police officer, and Brady said he wanted to honor all the cops who lost their lives trying to save others on 9/11.
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Another player, Jarad Bentley, whose father is a firefighter, carried the Thin Red Line flag. “If it had been [my dad] killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him.”
The boys had asked for permission to carry the flags onto the field but were denied.
Brady Williams didn’t care about the consequences. “I don’t care what my consequences are. So long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy.”
School Superintendent Gregory Power defiantly defended the decision to suspend the players.
“We can’t have students who decide to do something anyway after they’ve been told that they shouldn’t be doing it,” Power said. “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.”
Black Lives Matter protests have become common in professional sports and have spread to high school sports, as well.
Two seniors on the high school football team in Bluffton, Ohio, kneeled during the National Anthem. Neither of the two players were punished for doing so.