(10-31-17) With state athletic associations claiming there is a shortage of licensed officials available to handle the game load, three states have suspended long-time officials on issues related to players kneeling during the anthem and free speech issues.
Ohio, Indiana and New Jersey have been involved in these type of situations recently notifying officials they have been suspended for a long stretch of time, several were informed by mail of their penalties.
The most recent situation took place in New Jersey, after a father and son officiating a high school football game walked off the field when they saw players take a knee during the anthem.
Yesterday the two officials released a statement to mycentraljersey.com :
We read what Coach Darian Barnes of Colts Neck High School said to the newspaper about Friday night’s incident and we can agree with a lot of what he said. However, we do not hate any young players and we did not hate the young players that kneeled during the national anthem last Friday night. We do, though, strongly disagree with when they kneeled. The angry looks or words, we believe, came from the other team’s coaches, adults; and maybe none of the adults involved looked that great to the game’s players during these exchanges. We are sorry for any role we played in that scene.
We also agree that a discussion might be appropriate and where we can better understand why young players kneel, and why they kneel at the time they do. Also, where they can maybe understand why we refused to officiate a football game, and why we did it at the time we chose. There are rights and wrongs on both sides, and we would welcome that discussion if an appropriate forum could be arranged.
While we welcome such a discussion in the future, we would like to stay out of the media from now on. We may have asked for it, but now would like to go back being anonymous. We also would like to go back to officiating games. We do not believe we have done anything that should deny us that right.
The bottom line, we believe, is that with all of its faults, we are all Americans. The other common thread is that everyone out there in Monroe Township last Friday night loved football. Hopefully, we can all go back to it.
In Ohio, Pat Houseworth, Vietnam vet and long-time official in several sports was released for statements that he made on his Facebook page, the OHSAA deemed them as inappropriate and suspended him immediately. Two appeals later were not granted. The information came to the OHSAA from an anonymous source and have not been released to the public or Houseworth.
In Indiana, Air Force vet and a long-time official was suspended for leaving a game at North Central HS volleyball match when a player took a knee during the playing of the national anthem.
Jim Saddler would tell the Indy Star after his meeting with IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox:
“What they did just upset me so badly that I just could not stay there. (But) I know it’s her constitutional right to do what she wants to do. And it wasn’t fair to the other girls who were standing and respecting the flag. After I thought about it, you know, sometimes it takes you a little time to sit down and think about stuff and what you did. And after I thought about it, I would never ever do that again. I would never break a contract.”
Last year in North Carolina one HS Football official took part in the protest and took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem, according to media coverage he did not hear from the NCHSAA about the issue.
- OHSAA Suspends Ohio HS Referee, Legal Action Could Be Next
- Ohio HS Referee To Seek Legal Options Against OHSAA
- IHSAA Statement On Suspended Volleyball Official Who Left After The Anthem Played
- Football official kneels during National Anthem at Southwest game (2016)