Two Ohio high school football players have been suspended from their team after they carried “Thin Blue Line” and “Thin Red Line” flags onto the field before a game on September 11.
The Little Miami High School players allegedly were warned ahead of time not to carry the flags, according to Cleveland.com. They were told doing so would be making a political statement, and the school already had planned a pre-game ceremony honoring the 9/11 fallen.
Little Miami Superintendent Gregory Power told WKRC he viewed the flags “as symbols of a political point of view” and as such “didn’t want to set a precedent.”
Power added “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.”
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
When asked by the station, the player who carried the Thin Blue Line flag denied he was being political. His father is a cop, and he said he just wanted to “honor all the cops who lost their lives trying to save others on 9/11.”
The other now-suspended player (who held the the Thin Red Line flag) said his father is a firefighter.
“Little Miami Local Schools is saddened to see this story take such a negative turn,” the district said in a statement. “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.”
“Little Miami always has – and always will – support our first responders, our veterans, and all who sacrifice to maintain our freedoms,” the district’s statement says.
Still, Little Miami Superintendent Power tells Local 12 he has been receiving hate emails and voicemails because of the players’ suspension. A rally to support the players is being planned before a home game on Sept. 25, reports say.
Another Ohio high school recently faced a similar situation: Chardon Local Schools banned the Thin Blue Line flag after football players carried it onto the field. That district’s superintendent said it was “understandable” how hoisting the flag “could be interpreted as a racially-motivated action.”
UPDATE: The players have been reinstated:
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.” …
Any possible consequences will be handled by the coaching staff.
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