Two Little Miami, Ohio high school football players who were suspended from their team for entering a game while carrying the Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line(commemorating firefighters) flags have been freed from suspension, after community members expressed outrage at the punishment of the two young men.
Jarad Bentley and Brady Williams had been given an indefinite suspension from the Little Miami High School football team for carrying the two flags onto the field before a game, apparently violating a rule against political symbols. The two seniors reject the notion that they were making a political statement, and one of the boys had spoken of his intention to honor first responders, such as his own father, on the anniversary of 9/11.
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
After concerned parents and community members organized a protest event to stand with Williams and Bentley, the Little Miami School Board reversed its decision, freeing the senior players from suspension.
The President of the school board seemed keen to establish that the institution “supports police,” perhaps feeling the pressure from angry parents displeased to see the patriotic young men kicked from the football team for an innocuous display of patriotism.
UPDATE: High school players REINSTATED after suspension for honoring 9/11 first responders ==>https://t.co/i7hbJ7VLgr
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) September 15, 2020
They still might face some consequences, and reportedly team officials had commanded the players not to enter the field with the flags. Their punishment will be settled within the athletic department’s code of conduct.
College and high school sports teams put on elaborate displays in support of the left-wing Black Lives Matter movement all the time. Pro-police and firefighter flags are not a political statement by a long shot. This suspension never should’ve been issued in the first place.
Conservative-Friendly Sports Writer Jason Whitlock: First Woman to Play in Power Five College Football Game a “Make-A-Wish” Publicity Stunt
The voice of reason.
Jason Whitlock, a former ESPN and Fox Sports writer and current OutKick columnist, did not hold back in his criticism of the Sarah Fuller publicity stunt and the subsequent reaction that called her a “hero” and a “trailblazer.”
Sarah Fuller is a goalie for the Vanderbilt University women’s soccer team. But Vanderbilt’s football team, already having a dreadful enough of a season as it is, at one point did not have a kicker going into Saturday’s contest against Missouri—because of, you guessed it, COVID-19. So they turned to Fuller and added her to the roster, thus making her the first woman to ever play in a Power Five college football game. (Power Five refers to the sport’s five major conferences: the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC. Vanderbilt is an SEC team.)
Her only appearance in the game—which Vanderbilt lost 41-0—featured her squib kicking the ball to Missouri’s 37-yard line at the beginning of the second half and dashing to the sideline. That’s it.
So it was only a matter of time before Whitlock, who does not describe himself as conservative but is clearly conservative-friendly, bashed the virtue-signaling surrounding Fuller’s appearance.
“Sarah Fuller briefly made football socially acceptable for America’s most ardent virtue-signalers. That was her primary accomplishment, pleasing Make A Wish America,” Whitlock wrote. “I don’t believe she played football. She scored a point in the culture war.”
Whitlock acknowledges that Fuller is an elite athlete, given that she plays goalie for a Division 1 soccer team which just won its conference championship last week and is heading for the NCAA Tournament in the spring, but says that putting her in this situation only diminishes female athletes.
“I don’t blame Sarah Fuller. She’s an accomplished, high-level Division 1 athlete. She’s a soccer goalie for the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team. She’s been baited into believing competing against men is her North star. Maybe it is. It shouldn’t be,” he wrote.
He added: “Sarah Fuller is an elite soccer player. She’s a terrible football player, arguably the worst to ever take the field in the SEC. The announcers during the game said [Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason] wasn’t comfortable using her [to] kick field goals unless they were inside the 15-yard line. There were pictures of her warming up in pregame kicking 14-yard field goals. Her athleticism does not need to be validated by competing against men in any capacity, let alone in a sport that is not her specialty.”
Whitlock also attacked “culture warriors” for hailing Fuller as “Jackie Robinson 2.0” and spending tons of money to prop up women as the athletic equals of men.
“There’s a lot of money being spent to create the illusion that women can and should be playing football against men. The people spending the money hate football. It epitomizes ‘toxic masculinity’… except when women are on the field. Football should also be shuttered because of the head trauma dangers… unless women are playing. Oh, and during this COVID pandemic, it’s irresponsible for these Power 5 schools to exploit these college athletes… unless there’s a woman playing.”
Read Whitlock’s entire op-ed here. Thank God the sports writing world has at least one voice who can speak the truth like this. As someone who used to write about sports myself, I’m well aware that there are far too few Whitlocks in the profession.
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