Following former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and racial injustice, a movement has emerged adopting his symbolic act of kneeling during the national anthem to draw attention to these critical issues. However, this gesture has ignited controversy among those who deeply respect the American flag and military, seeing it as a sign of disrespect towards the nation. When Monroe High School’s football team followed Kaepernick’s example and knelt during the national anthem, it triggered a notable response from the game’s referees.

Referees Ernie Lunardelli, 54, and Anthony Lunardelli, 27, were dismayed to witness the players’ decision to kneel during the anthem. For Ernie, it became a matter of principle: he could not stand idly by as what he perceived as a dishonor to the country unfolded before him.

Expressing his frustration, Ernie stated, “I’m strongly opposed to anyone disrespecting our country, our flag, or our armed forces. The issues they’re protesting have no connection to the national anthem, and I stand against it. That’s why I chose to protest their kneeling by taking action.”

Ernie’s disappointment stems from his belief that the anthem is a moment to honor the nation and its symbols, rather than a platform for protest. He adamantly defends his stance, asserting that his protest targets anyone who disrespects the flag or anthem, regardless of their background.


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