MORROW, Ohio (FOX19) – Two Little Miami football players have been placed back on active status after being suspended for running onto the football field with a thin blue line and thin red line flag, the district said.
FOX19 NOW was told Brady Williams and Jarad Bentley carried the flags to honor firefighters and police officers on the 19th anniversary of 9/11 during their game on Friday against Turpin.
A spokesperson for Little Miami Schools says the players did ask for permission in advance to run with the flags but were told no.
As a result, Williams and Bentley were suspended while the incident was investigated.
The superintendent and high school administrators completed the investigation and returned the players to active status.
“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,” President of Little Miami Local Schools Board of Education Bobbie Grice said.
Grice said this matter will now be addressed as an Athletic Department Code of Conduct issue with “any potential consequences to be handled by coaching staff.”
The school district sent this statement to FOX19 NOW:
“Little Miami Local Schools is saddened to see this story take such a negative turn. The district enjoys an outstanding relation with our local police and fire agencies. In fact, the Patriot Night program Friday night featured a script recognizing first responders, information about what happened on 9/11, a poem celebrating those who sacrificed their lives and a remembrance ceremony with a moment of silence. We regret that such a moment of solemnity was somehow lost in this event.
As the season continues, the only two flags that will come through the Little Miami football tunnel are the flag of the United States of America and the Little Miami spirit flag. The Board of Education supports this decision of district administration.”
A Facebook event has been created called “We Stand with Brady and Jarad”.
The event creators are inviting people to gather at a nearby location with their flags before Little Miami’s next home game on Friday, Sept. 25.
“If they are not allowed to honor the country’s heroes, we will do it for them. We will pull into the school in a large group before the game starts and proudly show our support,” the post reads.