Football players suspended from team for carrying Thin Blue, Thin Red lines flags at game
MORROW, Ohio (WKRC) — 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. So long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy.”
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.”