GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. -
Instead of “U-S-A, U-S-A” they sometimes chant, Friday night fans at OK Conference high school football games found other ways to cheer for their teams.
Conference Commissioner Jim Haskins says some fans have changed the words into a vulgar phrase to taunt and humiliate opponents.
So USA is banned from conference games.
“The letters “USA” have been changed to mean something else instead of a positive patriotic type of thing,” explains Haskins.
“It’s kind of a shame,” says Forest Hills Central parent Barbara Long. “It never crossed my mind it stood for anything but the United States of America.”
The “USA” ban came after conference members met to investigate fan behavior during the Forest Hills Central versus Ottawa Hills game last week.
A few Forest Hills students were in the stands with a Donald Trump banner and a Betsy Ross flag some consider racist.
Haskins says there may have also been some vulgar “USA” chants.
“Chants were there and we thought we should address it with everybody.”
“It’s a little disappointing,” says parent Alan Rowland. “They are taking this away because of something they think these kids are chanting. It makes me feel it’s not okay to be proud of your country.
The OK Conference commissioner says there are already rules in place to restrict political activity and offensive banners at games. He says the vulgar USA chants were first heard during conference basketball games last winter.
There is no specified punishment for fans who chant USA during games. The commissioner says each school will handle infractions in the way they think is best.
(© 2016 WZZM)