Irvington, NY – A high school football team has been accused of causing harm to some community members by carrying a Thin Blue Line flag onto the football field as a 9/11 tribute to fallen officers and now the powers-that-be have banned it.
The incident occurred at the Irvington High School Bulldogs’ season opener against Haldane High School on Sept. 10, the New York Post reported.
Before taking the field, the Irvington football team put American flag stickers on their helmets.
Then they ran onto the football field carrying an American flag and a Thin Blue Line flag as a memorial to the law enforcement officers who died trying to help the victims of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in 2001, the Washington Examiner reported.
Weeks later, several residents of Irvington complained about the pro-police display to the school board and a controversy erupted on social media, the Rockland/Westchester News reported.
Irvington Union Free School District Superintendent Kristopher Harrison sent out a letter to the school district a month after the tribute was made and shut down any concerns about it happening again, the New York Post reported.
Harrison said that football coaches had not been trying to let the team make a political statement on Sept. 10 but rather, a memorial tribute for first responders in New York.
“Regardless of intention, I recognize that this non-sanctioned activity caused concern and harm to some members of our community,” the letter read. “Controversial, politicized messages are not representative of the inclusive, welcoming community that we seek to be.”
The football team wasn’t punished for unsanctioned display, but it won’t be permitted again, according to the superintendent.
One of the player’s fathers, a 24-year-veteran of the New York Police Department (NYPD) who served for three months at Ground Zero, said he was surprised and disturbed by the superintendent’s reaction.
He said honoring 9/11 first responders has been a tradition for the team, the New York Post reported.
The father said the same memorial was conducted last season and there weren’t any problems.
“I don’t know why it became a big deal,” he told the New York Post.
But the Irvington residents who complained to the school board had much stronger opinions, the Rockland/Westchester Journal News reported.
“It opposes everything I stand for as a black person,” Irvington resident Kelly Scott said.