Little Miami, Ohio – Two Little Miami high school football players, cornerback Brady Williams and linebacker Jared Bentley, were suspended indefinitely from the football team by Little Miami High School. Their crime? Taking pro-police and pro-firefighter flags onto the field after being told not to do so. Backlash ensued.
Two Little Miami football players pay the price for civil disobedience. They were told not to carry onto the field thin blue line and thin red line flags at their 9/11 game. They did anyway. The school has now suspended them from the team indefinitely. #ThinBlueLine #ThinRedLine pic.twitter.com/19y9GAvaxr
— David Winter (@DavidWinterTV) September 14, 2020
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The game was on Patriot Day, September 11. The Little Miami football players wanted to show their support for those who lost their lives on 9-11-2001. They did ask permission to take the flags onto the field, but were denied by the school. They did it anyway.
“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. As long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy.”
The school administration felt that if they allowed those flags to come out of the”tunnel” then they’d end up having to allow other flags to come out as well, which might spark a serious controversy. But what they apparently didn’t realize is that it already sparked a serious controversy for remembrance of 9-11-2001.
“The Patriot Night program to memorialize the victims of 9/11 was already part of our pre-game ceremonies on Friday, and the American flag is the first thing through the tunnel every Friday night. Little Miami enjoys an outstanding relationship with local first police and fire agencies, and a Little Miami school resource officer is also a high school football coach. Little Miami always has – and always will – support our first responders, our veterans, and all who sacrifice to maintain our freedom.” School statement to Fox 19.
A change.org petition was created to demand that the school reinstate the football players to the team. Their goal was 15,000 signatures, but they reached 19,715 and victory. On Tuesday morning, the school reversed its suspension and reinstated both boys to the team.
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