A high school in Ohio has suspended two soccer players from the team after they defied administrators by carrying flags at the start of a game indicating support for law enforcement.
Video shows the players of Little Miami High School in Ohio leading their teammates onto the field in the home game on Friday, the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday.
They carried flags with a blue stripe and a red stripe indicating support for police and other law enforcement officials.
“While we understand the desire of these students to show their support to our first responders, they have not received approval from district officials,” Little Miami Local Schools said in a statement to Fox19. “Administrators must act when students break the rules.”
Brady Williams, a senior quarterback, said his father is a police officer and shared it WKRC-TV he tried not to make a statement as he held onto the Thin Blue Line as he ran onto the field.
“I just did it to honor the people who lost their lives 19 years ago,” he said.
The other player involved, identified as Jarad Bentley, was carrying the Thin Red Line flag.
“Because my dad is a firefighter, and if he had been killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him,” he said.
The players had asked for permission and were refused. They were told that if they did, there would be consequences.
“I don’t care what my consequences are. As long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy,” said Williams.
On Monday, both students were suspended indefinitely.
Chief Inspector Gregory Power said he took the flags a political stance and did not want to set a precedent.
“We can’t have students who decide to do something after being told they shouldn’t,” said Gregory Power. ‘We didn’t want to put ourselves in a situation where another family might want to have a different flag come out of the tunnel, [one that] many other families may disagree with politics. “
The school said a ceremony had been held before the game in honor of those killed in the 9/11 attacks.
Power told WKRC-TV he has received hate messages via email and voicemail since announcing the two players’ suspension.
This report uses information from the Associated Press.
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