Flag disrespect at football game

By Bradley Bond

Although I enjoy the Fighting Illini football team’s new slogan, “It’s a brand new ball game,” I am highly disappointed with one of the new traditions that the team has initiated under the Zook era. In the home opener against Western Illinois, the football team took to the field carrying the American flag and the Illinois state flag. At first, I found the idea of running into the stadium carrying the flags to be an appropriately humble way of showing respect. That quickly changed. Once the football team reached its sideline, the team member carrying the American flag handed it over to an athletics assistant, dragging the flag across the ground. From there, the flag was rolled around the pole and taken off of the field.

I find it both ironic and disheartening that the University’s athletic department honored the Tuskegee Airmen during halftime in a stadium named in honor of the fallen soldiers of our World Wars just an hour or so after disrespecting the very symbol for which all of those men and women fought. Illinois athletics: if you really want to memorialize those who fought and died for Illinois and this country, respect the American flag.