A controversy has erupted on social media over the Barberton basketball players sitting during the national anthem. This began the fourth game of the season when one player sat on the bench during the playing of the anthem.

A few games ago, a second player sat during the anthem, and on Saturday at Coventry, there were four players sitting. 

 On Saturday, the school administration issued a statement on Facebook that the Herald published and was carried by Fox8, and News 5.  The Barberton Administration stated they are not for the sitting, but can not do anything about it legally. The Supreme Court has ruled a student can not be forced to stand for the anthem or forced to say the pledge of allegiance.

A  source close to the team stated that the player that began the sitting had a brother killed by police. The players have not stated why they are sitting. The next game is Tuesday at home vs Northwest. The Magics are 9-3 under first year coach McBride.

A statement from the Barberton City School District: 
“We are aware of the Barberton High School student-athletes who have chosen not to stand during the pre-game playing of the United States National Anthem. The Barberton City School District supports every student’s right to free speech, as protected by the United States Constitution and supported by Ohio Revised Code (state law). 

Ohio Revised Code 3313.602 states that a school district cannot compel an act of patriotism on the part of a student. 

Laws similar to this Ohio state law have been challenged in the United States Supreme Court, dating back to 1943 (West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624). Then the Supreme Court ruled, “students may not be required to salute the American flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance at public schools.” 

While many people may not share this student’s point of view, as a public school district we are proud of all of our students who are learning important lessons about life that public schools are uniquely suited to teach – that people can hold different beliefs and can still coexist, get along, and even work together toward common goals.”

As always we remain open to anyone’s comments, questions, or concerns and will listen to everyone – please contact Superintendent Mr. Ramnytz if you’d like to chat.


  1. I will attend this Friday’s game only because I promised my nephew I would take him. My support for the schools ends after that.

  2. Another thing that will divide the community.
    If they choose the bench that would be for the whole game.Players are representing the school during the game.Political and Personal demonstrations should be done on there personal time.NOT GAME TIME

  3. Make them stay in the locker room until the anthem is over. That doesn’t violate the rights protected in the Constitution. Also, challenge the kids to see what else they are doing to bring their case to the public or are they just pulling a “Capernick” just to get 15 minutes of personal attention. I empathize with with the the young man loosing a brother. Did the brother use a gun in a crime and did he to threaten or fire at an officer? The Constitution provides protection for all!

  4. Those kids need to understand that although their behaviour is protected it is wrong morally and ethically. The behaviour is insulting, disrespectful and offensive to service personell that are fighting for their rights, the families of service personell and especially to those that have sacrified their lives.
    The administration’s position is weak stating they can’t make the kids stand but nothing prevents the administration from removing them from the team.


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Mike Bodnar
Mike Bodnar
Admin of Ed: Barberton 1972. Ohio Northern University 1977 BS in Pharmacy. Retired Pharmacist. Grew up on the Northend and Crissman Park. I love Barberton and always will.

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