Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Oct. 28, 2005

Controversy arises over American flags on ice hockey team's jerseys

by Mary Donahue, Online Managing Features Editor
The Blair Community Ice Hockey team, which held its first practice on Oct. 19, is considering putting American flags on their jerseys, provoking controversy within the team.

The team members disagreed on the message the flag, which would be a small patch on the arm or chest of the jersey, would send to the public.

Defense player Jake Drengwitz, who proposed the idea, thought it would be patriotic, especially after the natural disasters that have struck the country. "I just want to show patriotism, that we care about the country in times of the hurricane; that the country's still strong," Drengwitz said. The patches would be displayed on the chest or sleeve areas of the jerseys.

The controversy began when players expressed concern that the flags would symbolize support for the government. "My feeling is that it's a political statement and would just be misinterpreted, even if it isn't meant politically," said goalie Robert Ginsberg.

Winger Lewis Shattan feels that too much is being read into the idea. "It's the sign of the country," he said, "not a political symbol."

Although at first there was discussion among the players' parents through the Blair email listserve, the adults reached an agreement to leave the decision up to the team. "I don't see what the big problem is," said Judy Drengwitz, mother of Jake Drengwitz. "Jake set up the idea thinking it'd be good. It was ridiculous to see how this escalated. Let the kids make up their own decisions."

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  • mike (View Email) on October 28, 2005 at 3:09 PM
    its a flag patch! who cares?
  • jason on October 28, 2005 at 5:19 PM
    What makes you think that kids want to repesent America by wearing the flag when they have hard time standing up and saying the American Pledge every morning. It's shame what they don't understand what America stands for and what it's gaving them.Remember Freedom,Life and to prosuit happiness. With that student should wear the flag of America and represent it well.
  • update on October 29, 2005 at 7:27 PM
    the decision was not made by the kids, but the coaches decided to make an executive decision and ban all flags.
  • McCarthy on October 29, 2005 at 7:55 PM
  • McCarthy on October 29, 2005 at 8:03 PM
    Seriously though, if you don't support the government, you don't support the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, we live in this country, whether you approve of the government or not, you probably wouldn't want to live anywhere else. The government has helped you out and other people. After all of the bad happenings around the country, and the world, a flag that represents the strength of the american people is a bad thing.

    Just because you lost the election twice doesn't mean that you have to be opposed to everything american. Just try again next time OK.

    p.s. you're still going to lose
  • blair grad on October 30, 2005 at 8:15 PM
    Ummm... since when did wearing an American flag mean support for the administration? I agree with Shattan that there is too much being read into. It's just showing support for the American people, not for the Bush administration. If you want to show support for the admin, you would wear huge "W"s, not an American flag... Ginsberg apparently doesn't understand what an American flag stands for... and what it doesn't stand for.
  • to McCathy on October 30, 2005 at 8:32 PM
    sike!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously though, I have no idea what you are talking about. " After all of the bad happenings around the country, and the world, a flag that represents the strength of the american people is a bad thing." Which side are you on? Besides, there are plenty of places in this word that I would love to live in.

    p.s. your wrong!!
  • Blair Hockey on October 30, 2005 at 9:18 PM
    This is what I wait a month for, this article sucks, not to mention having unequal agreements do to the fact you use 3 for one side and 1 from the other. This flag thing should have never even been brought up in the first place because all it has done is create division and I don’t want my beloved hockey team to have problems. I love that team.
  • McCarthy hater on October 30, 2005 at 9:24 PM
    McCarthy your dumb that statement is completely false this country was built on the fact that everyone is allow to have an freedom to believe what you want on different matters, if what your saying it true then those freedoms wouldn’t be allowed everyone has the right to believe what they want. Thus you are an stupid for not allowing people to think for themselves.
  • omg on October 30, 2005 at 11:20 PM
    McCarthy, your statements are irrelevant, unprovoked, and plain stupid. i could go through a whole song and dance talking about why what you said was totally ignorant and obnoxious but i dont think i will even dignify your crap with a response. peace out.
  • jess c/o 03 on October 31, 2005 at 11:29 AM
    Mike no it's not just a patch. The patch means many things to many people. so for someone to just say that I would have to say is stupid please take your little butt back to U.S. history class. Maybe when you have something to fight for than you will have more to say.

    Jason is just simply right

    McCarthy-please be quiet. There is a difference between supporting the government and supporting the decisions the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA makes. If you are the type who supports an administration who leaves AMERICAN people basically to overcome a disaster like KATRINA all alone, an admin who picked an unqualified person to serve on the highest level of the courts who yes was a democrat but Bush's butt buddy, an admin who leaks life changing information to the media is your thing that mine. This is more than who won or lost the election this is more about what the government is doing and right now it is not doing a great job. And as I type I find out the Bush picked yet another man to serve on the supreme court. GREAT!! yeah right. I can see the approval rating just keep heading to the ground. The government yes did help out many people slave owners and rich white famlies. Lets also remember how the government helped the native-AMERICANS, african AMERICANS, mexican AMERICANS, asian AMEIRCANS, and puerto ricans. They helped themselves to their land and people. AND let this be known I am proud to be an AMERICAN and yes there is no place I'd rather be but when this government makes a mistake I will say it out loud honey. I along with many others are here today able to read and write because proud AMERICANS stood and said out loud that this country was not right
  • me on October 31, 2005 at 8:11 PM
    ok, a high school ice hockey team (excuse me, a high school COMMUNITY ice hockey CLUB) is a little different and doesn't necessarily entail free speech in the way you are referring to. I have a feeling that if there was true free speech then the players that wanted flags would wear them and those that did not want those would not wear them. However, this may not be the best idea for the sake of team togetherness. After reading the article, it sounds like a bad situation with somebody being angry regardless of any end. Those against flags will want nobody to have flags, free speech be damned. Those for flags will want everybody or at least themselves to wear them. Personally, I agree with Shattan, and that Ginsberg and others are reading way too far into the situation, and that the flags are meant purely as a sign of support for the NATION, as it faces many struggles, from natural disasters to war overseas. I don't think the flag would show that the person supported the initial invasion of Iraq. The flag would just show a general support for the nation in a time of crisis. Ginsberg and others who see our nation's symbol as a political statement need to get some perspective on what a USA flag really is.
  • Colin on November 1, 2005 at 10:02 AM
    I, personally, would feel a bit offended at the use of the flag. Now, I don't support a lot of the things the government has done. But that isn't my reason for opposing the flag.
    The use of a symbol to represent a team should be approved by 100% of the team. Otherwise, one member who wasn't in agreement with the use of the flag would feel falsely represented and offended.

    At least, I would. :shrug:

    McCarthy is just an ignorant kid who thinks he knows a lot about politics but doesn't. Just ignore him.
  • Jewishpromking69 (View Email) on November 1, 2005 at 4:47 PM
    The patch is not just an object. It is a symbol of support of the Bush Administration not of pure patriotism. Thus symbols can change. Before the rise of Hitler the swastika was a powerful symbol in the Hindu religion. Then with the rise of the fascist party the meaning of it was altered from a symbol that was of good and decency to one that is frowned upon.
    If the individual players want to play with it you cant stop them. BUT!! You cannot force them to wear it under any circumstances.
  • ummm (View Email) on November 1, 2005 at 6:29 PM
    do you see any other blair teams rockin the flag? hmmmmm....
  • Ian on November 1, 2005 at 7:51 PM
    Anyone who thinks the American flag only represents support for Bush is stupid, and thats the nicest word I could use. I personally support Bush and this country and am tired of all you liberals who rant about lame things like an american flag being pro Bush. I guess the American Flag could represent pro death penalty or taxes why don't you complain about that. Deal with Bush being in office, select another lame liberal candidate to run next year and loose again because you all are a bunch of kids who try to be cool by going against everything that isn't cool to you.

    p.s. you all are loosers for being liberal.
  • alex on November 1, 2005 at 8:09 PM
    Why do we go to a school where everything has to be about political opposition. Why can't a flag just show that we all are citizens of our country, and that we appreciate being allowed to live here, because you are all citizens, and if America didn't want you to live here, you would have a lot of trouble continuing life as normal. Even though some of you may say that you'd rather live somewhere else, you would have a lot of problems if you were kicked out. Working for change is fine, but dont hate on the country that is supporting you.
  • Anonymous on November 2, 2005 at 11:43 AM
    Nice grammar:

    "Let the kids make up their own decisions."

    The flag is pure and simple a symbol of the country. It is the decision of the team what the uniform is and the decision of the team whether to add a flag to it. It is not endorsing any political statement.
  • lewis shattan on November 2, 2005 at 1:16 PM
    haha, i just saw this, and i totally stand by my statement. I agree with some of the people that have talked already and say that people should get the right to free speech, and if you don't like the government thats your own beliefs right? This being blair, it's understandable nobody will want anything to do with Bush, but associating the American flag to any one person or administration seems wrong. it's a symbol of all that this country was founded on and stands for.
    then again, i stand for the pledge too. I deffinetly dont think this made a big rift in the team, everyone just sort of got over it, but I'm glad i'm not the only person who thinks this became too big a deal
  • Citizen on November 2, 2005 at 8:15 PM
    What country do we live in? oh yeah America stop whining.
  • To Alex on November 2, 2005 at 10:21 PM
    Alex, this is plain crap. Part of our Constitution embraces opposing viewpoints (hint, look at the beginning of something called the Bill of Rights). America doesn't get to decide if it will let me live here, it is not a dictatorship. It is my country just as much as any. If I don't want a flag on my jersey that has nothing to do with hating the country. But it's still an internal decision. This is a separate organization, they decide on the uniform, and they decide what to put on it.
  • hockey fan on November 3, 2005 at 12:29 PM
    robbie ginsberg is sooooooo hot! i love robbie-b-gobbie.

    hockey fan!
  • Ersatz Pundit (View Email) on November 3, 2005 at 1:46 PM
    This is getting kind of ridiculous. Complaining about showing off your country's flag just because of Bush is really just a waste of time and breath. Just cause you don't like Bush doesn't mean you should do anything and everything to protest him. The American flag does not represent Bush, it represents America. From the way you all are wording your comments, it sounds like the same kind of thing ANSWER was doing during the protest earlier this year. It sounds like you're doing anything in your power to complain about Bush and detach yourself from every single one of his actions and associations. And now, you're even using the American flag to do that. Protest something that matters, not the flag. The flag represents the people in the country and the history of the country, not Bush. If, while watching a hockey game, a person misinterprets the flag to stand for the support of the Bush administration, that person really needs to get some help.

    Oh, and of course, it's ultimately the team's choice whether or not to display the flag. it's just pointless to throw politics into something that was meant for showing patriotism.

    if you really think something like wearing a patch is such a big issue, and you're kinda bored, there is a flag in every classroom in Blair....
  • compie 28 on November 4, 2005 at 2:04 PM
    i see the american flag, i think patriotism. that's it, a single concept. bringing up the constitution, bush.. communism?? how many reasons would a sports team have to wear their flag on their jersy? could it be because each time they gear up, they're thinking about president bush? or their burning passion for the constitution/democracy?

    seriously.. there are more offensive symbols than the american flag..
  • conservative on November 7, 2005 at 7:58 AM
    this is ridiculuos. its just a flag. only at blair...
  • student 07 on November 7, 2005 at 10:28 PM
    I think this is absolutely ridiculous. The flag represents one's pride for the U.S.A, not the administration. The administration of America changes every 4 (or 8) years, but thats doesn't mean America stands for different principles every couple years. It always has stood for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I don't see why people could disagree with those concepts. If you feel that wearing an American flag on your jersey represents your support for the government, then don't put it on the jerseys, easy as that. I don't think an American flag should represent a political statement, but moreover unite different political parties into one common belief, to take pride in your country and it's principles. If the flag is percieved as a political statement to the Blair Community Hockey team, then wait a couple years until you agree with the president's actions, and then stitch on the patch.

    Not a sermon, just a thought.
  • Notquiteconservative on November 9, 2005 at 4:55 PM
    People! The American flag is a symbol of our country; not a symbol of President Bush. No matter who you supported during the elecions, neither of the candidates ever took on the American flag as their own personal symbol. I say you get the patches, and if you want to wear them, do so. It'll be up to the players to explain why or why not they have/don't have a patch. This is because if they have enough energy to explain how they feel about it, they can take the time to explain why or why not they choose not to have the symbol of their COUNTRY (NOT President) on their jersey's.
  • the other colin on November 11, 2005 at 7:30 PM
    Yo AMERICA doesnt equal BUSH which pretty much means if you dont want to support your COUNTRY (not bush but your country) Than get out i bet we could find some starving people else where who wouldnt mind wearing the flag at all so why dont you extreme LIBERALS WITH NO LIFES go and switch places with somone who wants to be here and who cares. anyways i think it is a good idea to wear the flag dont you see the Pro teams doing it they sure do wether its Hockey or football they still do it its your country your supporting not bush. yall should be happy to even live here its a PRIVILEGE NOT A RIGHT. Propr to my man Ian
  • Dennis (View Email) on January 21, 2006 at 9:44 AM
    I will be playing in hockey in Bangkok Thailand in February and will be PROUDLY wearing my practice jersey which has a large American flag on the chest.
    USA, USA, USA!!!!!!!
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