By: ABI HOGLUND
Two football players from an Ohio high school were suspended from their team after they ran onto the football field with flags that support police and firefighters at the school’s Patriot Night game on 9/11. Brady Williams and Jarad Bentley carried the flags to honor firefighters and police officers. The boys both had a parent in the police department and the fire department.
The players asked beforehand and were told no they could not carry the flags. Monday afternoon they received an indefinite suspension. Gregory Power, a superintendent 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 many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” he explained on Local 12.
A petition to lift the suspension has more than 18,000 signatures. “Jarad and Brady took a Thin blue and red striped flag out on the field after they were told not to,” the petition said. “The school suspended them indefinitely for supporting their fallen hero’s. Sign this petition to help unsuspend the 2 student-athletes who have lost their senior season.” When Local 12 news asked if they were trying to make a political statement Brady Williams,answered, “No, not at all. I was just doing it to honor the people that lost their lives 19 years ago.“ He says he wanted to honor all the cops who lost their lives trying to save others on 9/11. Jarad Bentley carried the Red Lined 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.” On the 15th the school reversed the suspensions. The President of the school board Bobbie Grice said, “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… returning the players to active status”
The school district says the boys could still be disciplined by their coach for insubordination, but they will remain on the team. The only flags that will come through the tunnel the rest of the season will be the American flag and the Little Miami spirit flag.