One of the classic chants at any athletics event is one of patriotism: “USA! USA! USA!” However, schools at Western Michigan are facing scrutiny from the OK Conference, who are trying to ban the chant from football games. They are also implementing strict rules on flags and patriotic banners.
“Coaches and fans are irate,” said Bill Simonson, the host of a statewide sports radio show and the individual who first broke the story. “People are tired of being told what flag to fly or what political side to lean towards.”
So why did this policy come about? You can probably take a guess: the athletic conference’s crackdown comes after fans took offense when some fans from a predominantly white school displayed a “Make America Great Again” banner. A few black students took offense to students holding up a Betsy Ross banner as well.
“To wave a historical version of our flag, that to some symbolizes exclusion and hate, injects hostility and confusion to an event where no one intended to do so,” wrote Forest Hills Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Behm in a letter to parents about the Ross banner.
“He painted a picture that the school is filled with insensitive people,” Simpson responded to Behm’s statement. “If Colin Kaepernick can have his freedom of speech and freedom of expression – guess what – it’s a two-way street. This is the United States of America. What happens if someone walks in with a military uniform and the kids want to chant, ‘USA’? You can’t do that? Are we living in Communist Russia?”
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