CHESTER, Va. -- Anthony Harris knows the thrill of playing football; he`s done it all his life, from little league to high school.
Harris has been following the national debate surrounding NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem. He sees the controversy as just a bit much for little league.
“I think at this age kids should be focused on team building, having fun right now,” he said.
A team in the Chester Quarterback League kneeled last season. It angered some parents, but so far this year it had not been an issue.
Until one dad, who is a veteran, says an email among league officials surfaced on social media. It said any player or coach who kneels during the anthem would not be allowed to play.
The dad, who declined to show his face, said it was upsetting.
“To have CQL bring this out was disheartening, it felt like it was a bit much for a situation that hadn`t even happened,” the Marine said.
Chester Quarterback League Youth Football Commissioner Tim Gallagher said that directive should never have been issued, because it appears they were choosing a side in that national debate.
He said their goal is to let kids be kids and play football and leave all types of political issues off the field.
“In staying with our purpose of putting football first and not being part of any national debate, or having the perception of choosing a side, CQL is adopting a no protest policy across the board,” he said.
“I feel like part of the reason why I served was to give people the ability to protest to use their First Amendment rights,” the Marine father said.
Gallagher said the policy will cover the area of competition, which for most fields is inside the fence.
He`s hoping parents will agree with him that all the heavy political issues can wait until the time runs off of the scoreboard.
It will be enforced at all CQL games.