A high school swimmer in New Jersey that put an American flag on his swimming cap to honor his grandfather that died in the 911 attacks was disqualified last week during the “senior night” event, according to his father. What was the infraction so egregious that they disqualified the boy?Breitbart reports:
Rob Miller is the father of a 16-year-old sophomore swimmer at Morristown High School in New Jersey. During last week’s “senior night” game against Parsippany Hills High School,” Miller’s son donned an American flag on his swimming cap to honor his grandfather who was killed in the September 11 terror attacks.
There are regulations and rules in high school and college sports regarding equipment and uniforms, especially when applying foreign substances or using unauthorized equipment, from bats to cleats to gloves. Why was an American flag considered unsuitable or inappropriate enough to disqualify? Breitbart continues:
However, Parsippany High’s coach raised concern over the size of the flag on Miller’s son’s cap. Interestingly, the coach waited until after the race was finished to have the flag measured.
The National Federation of State High School Associations Swimming allows the following:
One American flag, not to exceed 2 inches by 3 inches, may be worn or occupy space on each item of uniform apparel. By state association adoption, to allow for special occasions, commemorative or memorial patches, not to exceed 4 square inches, may be worn on the uniform without compromising its integrity.
Parsippany High’s coach waited until they had lost the race, then in a desperate attempt to get a victory resorted to the rule book and measuring the flag on the cap. Despite winning fair and square, the victory was ultimately stripped. Parsippany couldn’t win based on athletic merit, so instead of teaching the team how to lose gracefully, they claimed their win on a technicality, and a slight one at that. Breitbart added:
Miller said officials determined the flag on his son’s cap to be “0.2” too large” for regulations in a since-deleted tweet.
“Blood is boiling. My son was part of a 200 Free Relay to win a swim meet on Senior Night. After the final event, the opposing coach asked to measure the size of the American Flag on his @SpeedoUSA swim cap,” Miller reportedly tweeted. “It was 0.2” too large according to standards. DQ’d. They lost.”
Miller added that “the issue is the coach waited until after the swim to get the DQ, deciding to put the burden of a ‘loss’ on a 16 year old, letting down all the Seniors that won their last dual meet of their HS careers.”
Thanks very much for the support on the my son's swimming DQ. Tough rule with a harsh penalty but we'll learn from this. My son wishes no ill will on the opposing team and just wants everyone to get back to swimming. Hopefully the spirit of this rule can be changed in the future. pic.twitter.com/ZtOkYMqbaZ
— robmillertime (@robmillertime) February 3, 2023
It is disappointing that the adults in charge set such a poor example of sportsmanship for their young swimmers. It’s also disappointing that the seniors involved lost their last meet on a shady technicality. However, as kids and teammates will often do, they rallied to support their own. Breitbart concludes:
After his disqualification, Miller’s son’s teammates rallied to support him, posting on the Morristown swimming team’s Instagram that “everyone knows motown boys were the real winners.”
Miller said his son “wishes no ill will on the opposing team and just wants everyone to get back to swimming.”
“Thanks very much for the support on the my son’s swimming DQ. Tough rule with a harsh penalty but we’ll learn from this,” Miller tweeted. “My son wishes no ill will on the opposing team and just wants everyone to get back to swimming. Hopefully the spirit of this rule can be changed in the future.”
A very gracious and supportive move from the team considering the 16-year-old was honoring his hero grandfather. Sportsmanship and class still exist and it’s good to see it win in the end, even if technically Morristown didn’t.
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