High School Swimmer Gets Devastating News After Opposing Coach Takes a Ruler to His American Flag Decal
A New Jersey high school swimmer learned a lesson about following the rules recently when he was disqualified from a meet for having an American flag logo on his swimming cap, which violated rules for the size of cap decorations.
The 16-year-old had participated in the event for his Morristown High School’s “Senior Night” meet against Parsippany Hills High School but found his time in the 400-meter free relay race tossed out when the opposing team’s coach took notice of the U.S. flag on the boy’s swim cap, according to Fox News.
According to his family, the teen used the flag-decorated swim cap to memorialize his grandfather, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City in 2001.
But after the boy’s swim, the Parsippany Hills coach reportedly felt that the flag emblem on the cap was over the size limit. And sure enough, once the logo was measured, it came in at .2″ too big for the rules, according to a tweet by the teen’s father, Rob Miller.
Miller was seriously ticked off over the incident and on Feb. 2, jumped to Twitter to vent about the problem. His original post has since been deleted.
“Blood is boiling. My son was part of a 200 Free Relay to win a swim meet on Senior Night. After the final event, the opposing coach asked to measure the size of the American Flag on his @SpeedoUSA swim cap. It was 0.2″ too large according to standards. DQ’d. They lost,” Miller wrote, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
Yes, the issue is the coached waited until after the swim to get the DQ, deciding to put the burden of a “loss” on a 16 year old, letting down all the Seniors that won their last dual meet of their HS careers.
— robmillertime (@robmillertime) February 3, 2023
Miller went on to explain more about the incident.
“The issue is the [coach] waited until after the swim to get the DQ, deciding to put the burden of a ‘loss’ on a 16 year old, letting down all the Seniors that won their last dual meet of their HS careers,” he wrote.
“He usually wears the team cap or another colored one inside out, no logo/flag. The one time he wears this in a meet and the coach DQ’d him. Unreal luck,” Miller tweeted, the Daily Mail reported.
Still, the logo did exceed the size limit rules. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations Swimming and Diving rules, the U.S. flag image rules are clear:
“One American flag, not to exceed 2 inches by 3 inches, may be worn or occupy space on each item of uniform apparel,” the rules state. “By state association adoption, to allow for special occasions, commemorative or memorial patches, not to exceed 4 square inches, may be worn on the uniform without compromising its integrity.”
Even with his team rallying to support him, it appears that the teen has decided to simply put the issue behind him and not to make a huge deal out if it all. He seems prepared to accept the rules.
“Thanks very much for the support on the my son’s swimming DQ. Tough rule with a harsh penalty but we’ll learn from this,” Miller tweeted, according to Breitbart News. “My son wishes no ill will on the opposing team and just wants everyone to get back to swimming. Hopefully the spirit of this rule can be changed in the future.”
In his now-deleted Twitter posts, according to the Daily Mail, Miller wrote that he thought it might have been a “political statement” by the coach, the Daily Mail reported.
Still, the coach at the Parsippany school denies that he had any “political motives” and only brought up the cap emblem size out of personal experience over cap emblem issues.
“Our coach never asked for any athletes or team to be disqualified. He (the coach) approached the official with a question about the swim cap to confirm that PHHS swimmers could also wear the American flags on them in the future,” a letter from Parsippany said, according to MSN News.
“Our PHHS swim coach pointed out to the official that we had swim caps with an American Flag logo, and we could not wear them. He asked the official if it was still a rule. The official came back and stated that the logo on the Morristown swimmer’s cap was too large and disqualified the Morristown relay team,” the school added.
Parsippany insisted that the coach merely asked if the flag size rule was still in place and when told that it was, he even offered to have his team disqualified, too, so that the 400-meter race was a scratch. But the swimming officials at the meet denied the request and instead disqualified the single swimmer in compliance with the rules.
As the media began picking up the story, Miller has since deleted many tweets and put others on limitations, so that they cannot be seen by the public.
Ultimately, it appears that the teen has decided he does not wish to make a national case out of the incident — especially as evidenced by the father’s deleted tweets. It appears he is willing to just chalk it up to experience and a failure to obey the rules. This is an admirable decision in light of the recent penchant of people to seek personal publicity on TV news programs for every little perceived slight and off-handed comment.
The coach’s actions do seem petty, granted. But rules are rules, and this teen is ready to see it all as a lesson learned. Perhaps he is the only mature person in the whole story.
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