Two high school football players in Morrow, Ohio have been suspended following their game on Friday, Sept. 11.
Prior to the start of the game, Little Miami High School football players Brady Williams and Jared Bentley carried "Thin Blue Line" and "Thin Red Line" flags across the field. The players said that their action was in remembrance of those lost on 9/11, on the 19th anniversary of the attacks. Both boys are the sons of first responders.
The week before the game, Williams and Bentley had asked for approval to carry the flags but were told by administrators that would not be allowed.
Monday afternoon, the two boys were told that they were suspended indefinitely for violating school rules.
Presumably, nearly everyone agrees that if a school superintendent tells students not to do something and the students then do that, the school is well within their rights to hand down appropriate punishment.
Superintendent of Little Miami Schools Gregory Power received backlash from the community over the players suspension. The school released a statement addressing the controversy surrounding the situation: “Little Miami Local Schools is saddened to see this story take such a negative turn. While we understand these students' desire show their support of our first responders, they did not obtain permission from district officials. Administrators must act when students break the rules.”
The school also said, "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".
The interesting part of the story though is this comes during a year of an increasing presence of social movements. NBA and NFL teams and players have been speaking out for causes they support, wearing names and social justice slogans on their jerseys, adding social justice sayings to their fields and courts. At the college level we've seen more athletes, coaches and University leaders speaking out on these same matters than ever before.
In this case though, this happened at a high school. The players sought to show their support for something they believe strongly believe in; and the school told them they could not do that on the football field.
There is a rally planned for Friday, Sept. 25 before Little Miami's next home game, in support of Williams and Bentley.
This afternoon a message from Little Miami Local Schools Board of Education President Bobbie Grice announced that the players have been reinstated after serving a one day suspension.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest coaching information.