NFL players kneeling during the national anthem has caused many patriotic fans to flee the stadiums or turn off their TVs. It’s become a contentious issue and has even spread to areas other than the NFL.
But when a student took a knee during a school volleyball game, one man wasn’t going to just stand there.
He really put it on the line when he walked out because of who he was. And he’s finding out the consequences of his actions now.
From Biz Pac Review:
Jim Saddler, an Air Force veteran, was suspended for more than a year after walking out on a high school volleyball game he was set to officiate after a player took a knee during the national anthem.
Saddler, a retired Presidential Flight Attendant on Air Force One, was angered over the show of disrespect, but now regrets how he responded.
“In the Air Force, you have a duty, and you do it,” he told The Indianapolis Star. “The same with sporting events. I guess I went AWOL. I feel bad about it.”
Having served his country and had friends lose their lives defending it, Saddler had no patience for an ill-informed North Central student disrespecting them.
But the assistant athletic director Andy Elkins didn’t rein in the student, he instead chose to chastise Saddler and shouted at him, according to the Indystar, “You have a contract!”
The athletic director reminded Saddler that he had been paid $20 to officiate the game.
What Saddler did next is earning him lots of fans all over the country.
He walked over to the athletic director, handed him $20 and left.
“What they did just upset me so badly that I just could not stay there,” Saddler said. “I know it’s her constitutional right to do what she wants to do, and it wasn’t fair to the other girls who were standing and respecting the flag.”
Saddler is now facing serious consequences for his actions. In addition to volleyball, he also officiates softball and basketball.
He received a notice that his license to officiate had been revoked for the rest of the current school year and through winter sports at the beginning of next year, essentially 18 months.
While he acknowledges he should have fulfilled his commitment, Saddler was shocked at the severity of the punishment, particularly under the circumstances.
Saddler said that he’s never been in trouble before and as far as he knows, he’s well thought of in Indiana as far as officiating.
And the North Central Athletic Director Paul Loggan confirmed that.
Loggan said, “He’s a very well-respected official and man. He’s been a volleyball official here and a softball official here, and we’ve never had any issues with him.”
One wonders if others who have done worse have gotten as much punishment.
Given his prior spotless record, it does seem extreme and maybe with some feedback from the public the commissioner might reconsider the punishment.
18 months is a long time and a huge hit in the wallet for the offense.
But hat tip to Saddler for putting it out there for principle, for his comrades and for the country.