Football players say carrying thin blue line, thin red line flags was to honor first responders, not make statement

Two Little Miami football players have been placed back on active status after being suspended...
Two Little Miami football players have been placed back on active status after being suspended for running onto the football field with a thin blue line and thin red line flag, the district said.(WXIX)
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 6:42 AM EDT
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MORROW, Ohio (FOX19) - Two Little Miami football players, who say all they wanted to do was to honor the first responders on 9/11, talked with FOX19 Now just days after their actions became a national story.

Brady Williams and Jarad Bentley carried a thin blue line and a thin red line flag to honor firefighters and police officers on the 19th anniversary of 9/11 during their game against Turpin.

Williams and Bentley were told by the school they could not run onto the field with the flags after asking for approval.

But Williams and Bentley went forth with their plan and tell FOX19 Now they had the backing of their teammates.

“After we got our answer, we brought everybody together. I got everyone’s opinion on it. Everybody said let’s do it, so we did it,” explained Williams.

The school decided to suspend both players.

“We knew that there would probably be consequences,” said Bentley.

[Ohio football players suspended after being told not to carry thin blue line, thin red line flags onto field]

On Tuesday, the Little Miami School District overturned the players' indefinite suspensions following an investigation that found the players were not trying to make a political statement.

Williams and Bentley said they are not surprised by the decision.

Both players will be allowed to suit up and play on Friday, but only Bentley will because Williams is hurt.

[Football players' suspension lifted after carrying thin blue line, thin red line flags onto field]

As far as doing something like this again, Williams said he doesn’t think they will.

“The only reason we did it is because of the day it fell on," explained Williams. "First responders' night, and it happens to fall on 9/11, because personally if it wasn’t 9/11, I wouldn’t have done what I did.”

Both players say they are surprised by the national response of support pouring in for them, but they insist on having the focus be on remembering first responders.

“I don’t want politics brought into this because I don’t want that on our names for what we did,” said Williams.

The next football game for Little Miami is at Loveland.

The two players said they are in contact with players on both teams to try and have everyone come out of the tunnel in unity.

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