Months after athletes began sitting or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem began in the NFL, athletes in other sports continued the gesture.
Participants at a local high school volleyball game knelt during the pre-game ceremony, upsetting Air Force One veteran Jim Saddler.
Saddler was supposed to officiate the game before he walked out in a fury after seeing the protests.
Daily Mail reports the man could not contain his frustration and left the game after seeing participants kneeling:
In a fury, Jim Saddler, 67, also an Air Force veteran, exited the court at a North Central High School women’s varsity game in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 9.
The conservative Saddler first grew angered when he saw several visitors in the stands sitting during the anthem, and was set off further after seeing the student kneel.
The Indy Star reports Saddler has admitted to feeling convicted about leaving his refereeing post:
Jim Saddler is sorry. That’s the first thing he wants you to know. Not sorry for being angry — he’s still pretty angry — but for the way he handled his anger when he saw a volleyball player kneeling during the national anthem. As an Indiana High School Athletic Association licensed official for more than two decades, he knows he has an obligation to honor his commitments.
It’s just like being in the military, the Air Force veteran said.
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“In the Air Force, you have a duty, and you do it,” Saddler, a retired Presidential Flight Attendant on Air Force One, told IndyStar on Thursday. “The same with sporting events. I guess I went AWOL. I feel bad about it.”
The walkout sparred an exchange with the school’s athletic director:
As he was walking out, Saddler said, North Central assistant athletic director Andy Elkins shouted to him.
“You have a contract!” Saddler said Elkins hollered. Elkins then reminded Saddler that he was walking out on high school kids and that he had been paid $20 to line judge the game.
Saddler walked over to Elkins, handed him $20 and left.
He’s regretted it ever since.
“What they did just upset me so badly that I just could not stay there,” Saddler said. “(But) 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. After I thought about it, you know, sometimes it takes you a little time to sit down and think about stuff and what you did. And after I thought about it, I would never ever do that again. I would never break a contract.”
A few days later, Saddler received a letter from IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox informing him that his license had been revoked for the rest of this school year and until winter sports begin next year.