The National Anthem protests have become one of the most talked about subjects in our country this football season. President Trump’s verbal attack on the blatant disrespect of the NFL players who have chosen to participate in the protests has pushed Americans to their breaking point, and they are becoming more and more angry with the league. More and more players have decided to partake in the protests, and it almost seems like they are doing it just to spite our Commander in Chief. As a result of the protests, NFL ratings have been on a steady decline. Ticket sales have dropped as well. And fans are making it clear that they care more about the respect of the flag than they do about watching football.
At this point in time, the referees are actually starting to give their input. This past Friday, two high school football refs decided to leave the field after some of the players from Monroe High School in New Jersey got down on one knee and protested the National Anthem. The ref’s names are Ernie Lunardelli and his son, Anthony Lunardelli. The two saluted the American flag thorough the National Anthem while they witnessed numerous players kneel down. The father and son made it a point to walk off the football field once the anthem had finished.
After the game, Ernie Lunardelli was quoted saying,
“I’m not in favor of anyone disrespecting our country, our flag, the armed forces. What they’re protesting has nothing to do with the national anthem and I’m against it, so I decided to protest for them kneeling and that’s what I did.”
Prior to the incident, Ernie had warned the league’s assigner of games that he wouldn’t work a game in which the players didn’t stand for the anthem. He stuck to his word and did exactly what he said he was going to do, so no one should be surprised by his actions.
Ernie also stated:
“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, if it’s an 80-year-old man, anybody. I don’t care. Any race, color, I don’t care who it is. It’s not the way I was brought up and it pisses me off that people are doing that.”
Ernie and his son had already had a lawyer set up because they were worried that they would “try to blackball” them. The father went on to explain, “what hurts the most is these kids don’t even know why they’re kneeling.”
Ernie said something else that will likely put him in hot water with a lot of people. He stated, “I just don’t understand why this is happening, especially at the high school level. If you’re not happy with being in America, go somewhere else. It’s that simple.”
While there is no law in the state of New Jersey that requires players to stand for the anthem, it doesn’t look very good that our athletes are showing such disrespect to not only the flag, but those who put their lives on the line to defend it. The Lunardellis have made it clear what they stand for, and one thing they won’t stop doing is standing for the anthem.