I would like to address a concern I have that arose during this past Friday night’s football game at Columbus Grove where the Columbus Grove Bulldogs faced the Leipsic Vikings. For as long as it can be remembered, the Columbus Grove American Legion/VFW Honor Guard pays tribute to honor our fallen Comrades prior to the National Anthem.We, the Honor Guard, were waiting for the Leipsic Vikings to take the field when we were notified that they would not be taking the field for the National Anthem.



As a Combat Veteran and the father of a United States Marine, I find this disheartening and I am concerned about the disrespect that was given from the Leipsic Vikings to all our past, present, and future service men and women. I do not blame the team. I am only blaming the Leipsic Vikings head coach for these actions.

I know from personal experience that the Columbus Grove head coach, Andy Schafer, has always taught our student athletes to respect and honor our nation’s flag and its Veterans that fought and continue to fight to keep this great nation free. Coach Schafer has personally asked me to speak in the locker room to explain to our players what it means to our veterans to stand for the National Anthem. Coach Schafer has also implemented a Military Tribute game during the season and has always had the team help our local Veteran organizations whenever possible.

Back to the Leipsic Vikings, I went to the JV football game Saturday morning and after the game, I could not find the Vikings head coach. I was able to speak with an assistant coach. I asked him why the team did not come out onto the field during the National Anthem. He stated, “We only have to come out if it’s a conference game, we don’t have to come out if it’s a non-conference game”. I asked if it’s their practice to not come out for a non-conference game and he again stated again we do not have to come out for the National Anthem.

I have to say to the Vikings head coach SHAME ON YOU for allowing this to happen. You have your right to be a coach because of those that have bled and died for your freedoms. You have your right to be disrespectful and dishonorable (which you have proven) because of those that have bled and died for your freedoms. What are you teaching your student athletes? I know that if this was my hometown, I would be enlisting every willing veteran and would be standing in front of your school board to have you personally removed. You should be ashamed of yourself for the example you are setting for your student athletes. This is the worst example of a coach.

In fact, if you were my son’s coach, I would expect nothing less from my son to be either on that field during the National Anthem or walking off your team. To the student athletes of the Leipsic Vikings High School Football team. Do not ever let anybody influence you away from respecting and honoring our nation’s flag. You stand up for your beliefs no matter what they are. Always remember there is someone standing behind you. They are the ones standing in the mist on the battlefields from First American War to those now guarding your freedoms on the borders all over the world.