Olympics snowboarder Shaun White surged forward to earn himself a third Olympics gold medal and as he celebrated someone handed him a U.S. flag. But what he did with the flag as he celebrated his amazing achievement caused outrage among many on social media.
On February 13, White totally nailed all his tasks to win that third gold in a competition that many thought he was too old and washed up to win. But the California native surprised the world and took the gold, anyway.
As he joyfully celebrated his incredible win, he was handed Old Gory, but it appears that White just didn’t give the flag the respect many viewers and sports fans thought he should afford our national symbol.
As he jumped around in joy, White ended up dragging the flag across the snow and at a few points, as he fumbled to hold the flag, hold his snowboard, and take his gloves off all at the same time, he actually stepped on the banner.
The snowboarder later apologized for disrespecting the flag so, Daily Wire noted:
“I remember being handed the flag but I was trying to put my gloves on and hold the flag and get board,” White told reporters. “Honestly, if there was anything, I definitely didn’t mean any disrespect. The flag that’s flying on my house right now is way up there. So sorry for that. But I’m definitely proud — very proud — to be a part of Team USA and being an American and to be representing for everyone back home.”
Naturally, many on Twitter were incensed by White’s casual treatment of the Red, White, and Blue.
— Nathan (@America4Israel) February 14, 2018
so disgusting to see this kind of disrespect to our flag. What is it with these athletes? Trump better put him on blast.
— Yasmine Nilles (@Yasmine10894) February 14, 2018
It is obvious that this moron never spent a fay on a battlefield.
— Len Paone (@LenPaone) February 14, 2018
Still, many others saw nothing to get all upset about…
Honestly it is just a flag! It is not a big deal. It's not like he did anything bad. Let the man be happy!
— Goden Wars (@GodenWars) February 14, 2018
I would never say it's "just a flag" but I do understand it was in no way intentional nor meant in disrespect.
— Patricia Brauer (@brauerpatty) February 14, 2018
I’m a gun totter and Trump lover and I️ see a young man that just won a gold mental caught up in the moment..
You have no clue who the people are making the unwarranted remarks..
They could be the same people that think it’s ok to take a knee when playing our countries anthem..
— Peaches (@Garyllee3) February 14, 2018
Of course, many were incensed because White’s treatment of the flag violated the U.S. Flag Code. But, here we have to point out that the US. Flag Code is not a law. The flag code is nothing but the suggested treatment of the U.S. Flag.
The U.S. Flag Code is a tradition and it is something that all good Americans should practice, granted, but the code dos not hold the force of law.
After all, we must remember that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that burning the American flag is protected free speech and if the U.S. Flag Code had the force of law, that SCOTUS ruling would be a contradiction.
So, let’s put all this in perspective, here, when we think about how we should react to Shaun White’s treatment of the flag. He was just a California dude not brought up to respect the U.S. Flag Code, a fellow who was excited for winning the gold medal at the Winter Olympics, and who was just a bit unmindful about what he was doing with the flag. It is pretty clear he meant no purposeful disrespect for the flag. His actions were just made of casual disregard.
Yes, we can lament that he was not brought up to keep his mind on how Americans should treat our national banner, but, let’s not make it an act of treason, shall we?
[Note: This post was written by Warner Todd Huston