Football Players Suspended for Carrying Pro-Police and Firefighter Flags Reinstated After Outcry


Two high school football players in Ohio who were suspended indefinitely from their team for carrying flags in support of police officers and firefighters have been reinstated.

Players Brady Williams and Jarad Bentley on the Little Miami High School football team in the southwest Ohio city of Morrow wanted to honor first responders last week on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The duo asked their school for permission to carry flags onto the field before a game Friday, but they were denied.

Willams and Bentley did it anyway.

Bentley carried out a “thin red line” flag in honor of firefighters, while Williams carried out a “thin blue line” flag to honor police officers:

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Williams’ father is a police officer in the area, while Bentley’s is a firefighter.

WKRC-TV reported they were suspended after Little Miami Superintendent Gregory Power said the flags were “political.”

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The Cincinnati Enquirer reported both young men have now been reinstated to the team.

Bobbie Grice, Little Miami school board president, told the outlet that Williams and Bentley are now back on 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,” Grice said.

“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,” he said.

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Grice said the only flags that would be allowed on the field for the remainder of the season would be the American flag and the school’s spirit flag.

The lifting of the suspensions is welcome news to some community members.

Retired firefighter Perry Denehy assembled a group of others to protest the suspensions outside of the school Tuesday.

“I’m sure the community is standing behind [Williams and Bentley], and thanks to those two boys, patriotism is alive and well,” he told WKRC.

Morrow resident John Hare told the outlet, “With everything that’s going on with the NFL and what they’re doing … and then they pull this on those kids?”

Grice seemed perturbed that news of the boys’ suspensions from the team was not well received by the public.

“Little Miami Local Schools is saddened to see this story take such a negative turn,” he told The Enquirer.

“The district enjoys an outstanding relationship with our local police and fire agencies,” Grice said.

The story gained national attention after Power told WKRC why he suspended the two boys from the team.

“We can’t have students who decide to do something anyway after they’ve been told that they shouldn’t be doing it,” Powers said.

“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 [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” he said.

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