GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Recent behavior by students at a Grand Rapids High School football game is prompting new rules during sporting events.
In a surprise move, the local high school conference, the OK Conference, has determined to ban the chant "U-S-A...U-S-A" during games, except directly after the national anthem.
It started after a photo students took which went viral. In it, students from Forest Hills Central are seen holding up a Trump flag and and an older version of the U.S. flag which is sometimes associated with white supremacist groups.
The OK Conference had several meetings this week discussing the matter and revisiting the handbook on sportsmanship, specifically dealing with signs and chants. Now, there's a new ban on a cheer many of us are familiar with, U-S-A, U-S-A.
"It's nothing unpatriotic that we're trying to do that the OK Conference really believes in being patriotic with all of our kids and so on, but what happens is that some of the kids go and use that as a demeaning put down, a derogatory type of cheer," OK Conference Commissioner Jim Haskins said.
Haskins said the letters, U-S-A, have been changed to mean something else, which is why he says the only time fans are allowed to use that cheer is right after the National Anthem.
"It's hard to decipher that when it is positive and when it's not," Haskins said. "That's the hard part. It could be positive while saying that but most of the time it comes out as a put down on that player whether it's a guy or a gal out there that drops a pass, hits the ball in the net or something like that."
Haskins does want to make clear the new rule is designed to protect patriotism and make sure 'U-S-A' is not used in an offensive way.
(© 2016 WZZM)