A High School Football Team’s Protest During the National Anthem

Since former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest police brutality and racial injustice, his protest has spread like wildfire. People who support his cause have joined him, kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness around the issue.

However, those who feel patriotic about the flag and take pride in the United States military are not happy about this form of protest because they see it as an insult to America.

Recently, the football team from Monroe High School decided to take part in Kaepernick’s protest. Many of the players took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before a game. But as soon as the players dropped down during the Star-Spangled Banner, the game’s two referees felt compelled to participate in their own form of protest. They refused to stand by and watch the high schoolers disrespect America like that, so they walked off the field and quit.

The referees involved in this incident were 54-year-old Ernie Lunardelli and his 27-year-old son, Anthony Lunardelli. Ernie was outraged to see teens taking a knee in protest during the anthem.

“I’m not in favor of anyone disrespecting our country, our flag, the armed forces,” Ernie expressed during an interview with //NJ.com//. “What they’re protesting has nothing to do with the national anthem, and I’m against it, so I decided to protest against them kneeling, and that’s what I did.”

Ernie doesn’t understand why these protests have to occur during the anthem. While he recognizes everyone’s right to protest, he believes that the pregame ceremony should solely focus on football.

“Whoever is disrespecting that flag and the national anthem, that’s who I have a problem with. That’s my protest. I don’t care if it’s a baby or an 80-year-old man, anybody. I don’t care about their race or color. It’s not the way I was brought up, and it irritates me that people are doing that.”

Ernie had already warned the league’s commissions that he would quit if any of the players knelt during a game he officiated. Thus, when the students took a knee, Ernie and his son kept their promise and walked off the field.

After the Lunardellis left, they were replaced by two cadets on the chain crew. Ernie believes that the game should not count due to the presence of untrained personnel.

“That game should not count now because they did not have the right personnel on the field,” he stated. “These kids weren’t officially carded and trained, so they’re putting the kids in jeopardy. I’m not.”

Ernie has already sought legal advice to fight against the game being counted.

“They’re not going to run me out of town,” Ernie declared confidently.

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