When the national anthem began to play before a Mechanicville High/Catholic High football game, lineman Daniel Hayner didn't see an American flag anywhere. His coach told him to grab the flag the team always keeps with them and take it out onto the field.
A friend's parent took a photo of Hayner holding the flag, and it's gone viral.
According to Fox News, the reason Catholic High didn't have a flag was entirely accidental, as they had “just finished work to their press box and forgot to replace [it].”
The principal of Catholic High issued a quick apology:
“The school did not have a flag prepared in a timely manner. As a principal, I take responsibility for that and we apologize if anyone was offended.”
Appearing on Fox & Friends this weekend, Hayner was asked about what drove him to hold the flag, as well as what he thought about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — and other professional athletes — refusing to stand for the National Anthem:
“People serving and dying for the country, for the flag. The NFL players doing it, and disrespecting it, and disrespecting people serving; it's not the right thing to do... They're supposed to be role models to younger kids, younger football players. They're not showing the right thing to anybody by doing what they're doing.”
According to Robert Young, Mechanicville High School Athletic director, Hayner's “spontaneous action” was unsurprising given his character and love of country.