High School Football Players Kneel During Anthem, Refs Respond By Walking Off Field

I suppose if the athletes believe they can protest in the course of a sporting event being held and paid for by the school, the officials can do the same thing.

Four football players from Monroe High School in New Jersey took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem, and a pair of referees responded by promptly walking off the field.

The referees, a father/son pair – Ernie Lunardelli, 54, and Anthony Lunardelli, 27 – stood during the anthem, then left the field after seeing the players protest.


“I’m not in favor of anyone disrespecting our country, our flag, the armed forces,” Ernie said afterwards. “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.”

He claims to have told officials weeks ago of his intentions, adding that he finds the entire form of protest infuriating.

“Whoever is disrespecting that flag and the national anthem, that’s who I have a problem with,” Lunardelli said. “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.”

The coach for the opposing team said he observed the referee shouting at the kids, to the point that “the other official had to pull [Lunardelli] off the field.”

“To me, he’s a coward,” Coach Darien Barnes said.


Lunardelli disputes that account.

Anthony now says school officials are trying to get he and his father removed from any further games.

Even with that threat looming, he said it was worth it.

“I’m not really worried about [being sanctioned],” the younger official said. “If I don’t ref again, it won’t be the end of the world.”

“If you’re not happy with being in America, go somewhere else,” Ernie concluded. “It’s that simple.”

Should the refs have walked off the field? Share your thoughts below!

Rusty Weiss has been covering politics for over 15 years. His writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, Fox... More about Rusty Weiss

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