MONROE, N.J. (AP) — A father and son who were to officiate a high school football game Friday night walked off the field after members of one team knelt during the national anthem.

national anthem gold star parents 10pkg frame 1608 2 Referees Refuse To Work High School Game After Anthem Protest

(credit: CBS)

Ernie and Anthony Lunardelli said they told officials from Colts Neck and Monroe high schools before the game they would not work if any players protested. They were replaced by two officials in training after four Monroe players took a knee on their home field.

The two officials told they respect the players’ right to protest, but they believe such acts are disrespectful. The pair stood on the field with their hands on their hearts while the anthem was played, then left immediately.

“What they are doing with this kneeling and everything, they have the right do to that, but the national anthem has nothing to do with them kneeling,” said Ernie Lunardelli, who is in his 18th season of officiating scholastic football games. “The flag has got nothing to do with why they are protesting. If they want to protest, let them protest, but don’t disrespect our country, the flag and the Armed Forces.”

RELATED: At Colorado High School Game, Parents Share Varying Views About Anthem Protests

Ernie Lunardelli was scheduled to work the game as the head linesman, while his son was to be a line judge.

The newspaper reported that Monroe High School Athletic Director Greg Beyer declined comment on the officials’ decision not to work the game. He said it is school district policy to permit players to protest peacefully.

Officials who oversee the referees declined to speculate on what action, if any, would be taken against the Lunardellis if either school files a complaint over their refusal to work the game.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (2)
  1. I stand with the refs. Yes you have the right to peaceful protest yet can anyone explain why they choose the honoring of our flag, our nation and our troops to exercise this freedom. you want me to stand with you in your stance then play the game you choose to play, whether for fun, schoolarship or pay and leave politics out of it and I will stand beside you. You have done nothing but leavea real bad taste in my mouth for your cause.

  2. Mike Newman says:

    Poor snowflake… Upset with students exercising their constitutional rights.. So snowflakes have to exercise their constitutional rights to quit their job.. Hoping that constitution will make standing for a song an execution offense. #Snowflake

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