A high school conference in Michigan has banned chanting “USA” at games, and not everyone is happy about it.
The Ottawa-Kent Conference in Michigan is now officially enforcing a rule that prohibits fans in the stands from chanting “USA” at any point other than when the national anthem is sung.
The ban’s implementation came after two students waved a pro-Donald Trump flag and a Betsy Ross flag (with the 13 colonies represented as stars).
It sparked outrage among conservative commentators like Todd Starnes, who pleaded that conference officials “stop the insanity.” He also suggested that if athletics groups allow their students to take a knee during the national anthem, as popularized by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, then other students should be allowed to chant “USA,” too.
But school officials say the ban stems from something a little less political.
According to 24 Hour News 8:
O-K Conference Commissioner Jim Haskins told 24 Hour News 8 that some students attending athletic events were chanting “USA” as a way of telling opponents, “U suck a**.” Haskins said the chant filtered down from colleges and started happening at high school basketball games last year.
In that way, at a game, the conference argues, it’s hard to discern whether the chant is an impromptu burst of patriotism or a vulgar insult against their opponents.