A small Christian college has added its voice to a national debate on kneeling during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The College of the Ozarks said in a news release on Friday that it would boycott any game if it detected that “disrespect is exhibited toward the American flag or national anthem.”
The announcement followed the recent controversy over the decision by National Football League players and others to kneel as a form of protest during the performance of the national anthem before games.
The college said it had changed its contracts for athletics competition, adding a rule that all players and coaches involved show respect for the American flag and the national anthem. “It’s a shame sporting events are being used to communicate disrespect for this great country,” the college’s president, Jerry C. Davis, said in the news release. “It’s time for colleges and universities to be positive role models. We need more emphasis on character and unity and less emphasis on political correctness.”
The college, with an enrollment of about 1,500, is located in Point Lookout, Mo. On its crest, five words are in a ring: academic, vocational, cultural, patriotic, and Christian. Patriotic events and memorial services are arranged by an administrator who serves as dean of admissions and vice president for patriotic activities.