Huntington WV State Champions don’t place hands over their hearts during national anthem.

(Image: © Caiden Cowger)

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.

Marine Color Guard at Championship Game

Marine Color Guard at Championship Game

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.

Huntington WV State Champions don’t place hands over their hearts during national anthem.


  1. Mary

    March 12, 2017 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm

    Either way, if they didn’t honor the Flag, then they should have the game forfeited, if they won.

  2. Lewis

    March 12, 2017 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm

    They failed to honor our flag!!!

  3. Pam

    March 12, 2017 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm

    You are a disgrace to the title and they should have done something about it. You are sad, brainwashed individuals.

  4. Chuck Anziulewicz

    March 13, 2017 9:46 am at 9:46 am

    Uh, in case y’all didn’t know … you put your hand over your heart when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, NOT during the National Anthem. However, it is customary for men to remove their hats during the National Anthem.

  5. Todd

    March 13, 2017 4:37 pm at 4:37 pm

    Mr. Cowger,

    Please take note that the language of the US Code to which you cite is “should”, not “shall”. Therefore, there is no obligation (“shall”) to put your hand over your heart during the national anthem. It is a recommendation (“should”). As a “journalist”, you should know that words have meaning and there is a significant difference in saying somebody should do something and saying somebody shall do something.

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