O say can you see

The Editorial column is from a long time, well respected Herald employee. This column appeared in the Jan. 16 edition of the opinion feature. 

He is the backbone of the Herald after 25 years of service. 


Last week a Barberton High School basketball player decided to sit for the national anthem. 

He has been doing this since the beginning of the season. Last week a few of his teammates joined him. In interviews on TV, some of those students said they sat to support their teammate who has been receiving verbal backlash from adults in the stands. 

Social media has blown up. 

Half of the Facebook posts support the student exercising his rights. Many other posts have blasted the student as a bad kid, have told him to “get out” if he doesn’t like the country. Have asked “where are his parents,” and hurled various insults. 

I don’t know the student and I don’t know the reason he is sitting. But that’s a moot point. It is his choice. 

You don’t have to like what he did, that’s your choice. Seems like the teenagers know the Constitution better than adults. One social media comment states, “Shame on you Barberton Schools.” Shame on them for following the law? No, shame on you. 

The schools cannot force anyone to stand according to the Supreme Court ruling in 1943 that states the “Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protects students from being forced to salute the American Flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance in public school.” The Barberton Schools made a social media post very clearly stating their position, although many posters would like them to go against the Constitution, break the law and face legal consequences. 

Would you rather live in North Korea where patriotism is forced? That is the exact opposite of what our flag represents.

Many posters say the students are disrespecting the military. I don’t think so. One of my best friends was wounded in Vietnam fighting for our country. He stated, “This is America. I cherish my freedom. I fought in Vietnam to protect that freedom and I have the utmost respect for anyone who exercises their right to protest.” Other vets have basically said the same on social media.

Many people love our freedoms until it is something they don’t like. There are far more important things to deal with than whether a teenager stands for a song.

It is very cut and dried. It’s not about whether you like it or not. The law says the student has a right. So, move on and leave the kids alone.

I will stand for the national anthem, but if you do not want to stand, for whatever reason, I respect your choice.

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  1. Scott on January 19, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Bottom line is, not standing for the National Anthem has not accomplished anything. Simply grandstanding by individuals who who show they are not knowledgeable enough to really make a difference. When NFL attendance declined most of it ended. It accomplished zero. Voting, boycotting, etc changes things. And it doesn’t focus attention on the wrong thing.

  2. kicking police in Baltimore throwing water on police in NY on January 19, 2020 at 8:28 am

    100% about disrespecting the flag, America and the police. They think they should be exempt from arrest. You’re not special!! Dont do the crime if you cant do the time. No, you cant do whatever the hell you want without consequence. YOU CAN LIE TO YOURSELF ALL YOU WANT!!!

    • Raised right on January 19, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      It all starts at home! I know how my parents would of handled a child being disrespectfull !!

  3. Jimbo on January 18, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    This is simple. Quit going to events where athletes kneel down. Vote down all school levies. Vote all Demorats out of office. This will stop athletes disrespecting the USA.

    • 4-H on January 18, 2020 at 8:03 pm

      Hit em in the pocket book as grandma used to say!! Agreed 100% 🇺🇸

  4. VEGAS on January 18, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Line 2:1

    • Tommy on January 18, 2020 at 7:13 pm

      You could take a good look at a T-bone by sticking your head up a bull’s a$$ but wouldn’t you rather take the butcher’s word for it?

  5. Trumpty Dance on January 18, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    TRUMP 2020

  6. Snowdumb on January 18, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    I must of missed the part in the article where he’s wiping his a$$ with the flag.

    • Snowdeaf on January 18, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      Just ordered one of each on ebay. Plan on using them as kindling. No disrespect though. Just” expressing my feelings”

      • Snowdeaf on January 18, 2020 at 2:40 pm

        But Snowdumb I thought you enjoyed embellished stories? Until it’s something you dont like huh?

  7. BANNED FOR LIFE on January 18, 2020 at 12:37 pm


  8. 4-H on January 18, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    The shame on Barberton Schools comment WAS silly. I dont think that comment was very well thought out! Yelling at the kid(s). is also silly. “Whatever”the reason they claim to be kneeling might also be silly. There’s a better venue that would be much more affective at getting “whatever” point they’re trying to make is,across. No? And if it was JUST, I think a lot of support would be GAINED. Facts matter…its your story tell it how you want.

  9. 4-H on January 18, 2020 at 11:42 am


  10. vagisil on January 18, 2020 at 11:30 am

    I was unable to stand for the Anthem. Then I tried vagisil. I was able to stand lickety-split…..👍

  11. Michelle Obama (aka BIG MIKE) on January 18, 2020 at 10:36 am

    All this for a damn flag!!

  12. retsamssabde on January 18, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Yelling at the kids from the stands is ridiculous. But please remember that freedom of speech is a two way street. Kids are extremely impressionable. No one has to like it or dislike it. Understand? You can print your opinion and so can they.

    • 4-H on January 18, 2020 at 10:14 am

      Every time we criticize what we consider to be excesses or faults in the news business,we are accused of repression and the leaders of various media professional groups wave the first amendment as they denounce us. That happens to be our amendment too. It guarantees our free speech as it does their freedom of press. There is room for all of is-and our divergent views-under the First Amendment 🇺🇸

      • 4-H on January 18, 2020 at 10:16 am

        *room for all of us

  13. Iconoclast on January 18, 2020 at 8:58 am

    I could not agree more Mr. Columbo. There are far more important things to worry about. I oft wonder why people get so upset about what some actor or professional athlete says about any social issue. This poor kid is a teen with precious little experience or understanding of what life is about. If he chooses to mimic Kaepernick just let it alone. If he does not get so darn much attention from his display he will soon abandon it in my opinion. That’s what this stuff is about anyway…”LOOK AT ME”. Like a child having a tantrum. Ignore it and it will go away.

    • Snowblind on January 18, 2020 at 10:30 am

      When did Kappernick begin his impressionable kneeling that many a sheep have followed? Understand when and you’ll understand why! Will you have an issue if I decide to wipe my arse with an African flag or if i do the cha cha on a mexican flag on the corner of state and wooster rds.? I’d bet I’d have to protect my first with my second!

      • 4-H on January 18, 2020 at 1:16 pm

        It’s likely you’d be arrested for inducing panic or inciting a riot. Or some crap like that.

        • LAURA on January 19, 2020 at 2:22 am

          Some people only read half of the column and then start writing misspelled, incomprehensible junk. It was the FATHER of the player that went to the coach and said his son would not stand. The boy was only doing what his father told him to do. The COACH was only doing what he was told by the father. He didn’t write a nasty letter. He just coached. That is what he is paid to do.

          • the lonesome polecat on January 19, 2020 at 7:50 am


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