A high school in Ohio has reversed course on its decision to suspend two football players for running onto the field with flags associated with the Blue Lives Matter movement.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, two Little Miami High School football players — Brady Williams and Jared Bentley — ran onto the field carrying a “thin blue line” flag and a “thin red line” flag prior to their Sept. 11 game against Turpin.
Sept. 11 was “Patriot Night,” with the school holding a pregame ceremony celebrating those who died on Sept. 11, 2001. The Enquirer reported that, according to thinbluelineusa.com, a thin blue line flag supports United States law enforcement officers, while the red thin line flag supports firefighters.
After originally being suspended, The Enquirer obtained a message from the Little Miami Board of Education immediately restating the players’ eligibility. Williams is reportedly the son of a police officer, while Bentley is the son of a firefighter.
"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," Board of Education president Bobbie Grice said, according to The Enquirer. "Moving forward, Little Miami is returning the players to active status and this matter will be addressed as an Athletic Department Code of Conduct issue, with any potential consequences to be handled by coaching staff."
Prior to reversing the suspension, FOX19, a television station located in Cincinnati, had obtained a statement Monday from the school district.
"Little Miami Local Schools is saddened to see this story take such a negative turn,” the statement read. “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 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.
“Little Miami always has — and always will — support our first responders, our veterans, and all who sacrifice to maintain our freedoms.”