CHARLESTON, WV — In the West Virginia AAA Girls’ Basketball Championship of Buckhannon-Upshur vs. Huntington, almost all members of the Huntington Highlanders did not place their hands over their hearts during the playing of the National Anthem. The anthem also featured a Marine Corps Color Guard. The game took place on Saturday.
36 U.S. Code § 301 – National anthem
“Conduct During Playing.—During a rendition of the national anthem—
(c) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart…”
Following the game, attendees began voicing their opinions on the matter via social media. Some were saying that their actions were a “disgrace.” Others were expressing that placing your hands behind your back is quite common among sports teams during the anthem. Regardless, this incident caused debate.
In a similar incident, CBS New York reported U.S. women’s gymnastics player Gabby Douglas failing to place her hand over her heart during the national anthem in 2016. Douglas also faced criticism on social media. She later responded and apologized.
It is presently unclear if this was a deliberate demonstration to disrespect the flag, or ignorance of the official U.S. Flag Code. Huntington would go on to win the game 72-54, gaining the WV State Championship title.
Was this inappropriate, or was it justified? You decide.