Skip to comments.Geauga County Sheriff nixes off-duty NFL details amid National Anthem controversy
Posted on 09/26/2017 7:10:10 PM PDT by 11th_VA
Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand on Sept. 25 issued a notification restricting all deputy sheriffs from accepting any off-duty work at National Football League games.
He said the ongoing controversy involving professional sports players not standing for the National Anthem, and their team and league management apparently backing them, is the reason why.
"Yesterday I attended the Browns game in Indianapolis with some friends. The stadium was almost full with 70,000 fans in attendance. During the National Anthem at least 21 Browns players kneeled as the entire stadium, made up of all races, ages, sex, religion and careers stood and removed their hats," part of his notice reads.
It continues: "All the police officers working in uniform were saluting. The fact that the team owners and NFL Commissioner condone this activity very much upsets me. As far as I am concerned almost the entire league disrespected every veteran that ever fought or died for this Country. These protests are not about unity. Unity was the other 70,000 fans that stood. I truly believe this is about the Police, Law Enforcement and our government. For that reason, effective immediately any off duty details at NFL Games are prohibited."
Hildenbrand prefaced his prohibition by way of expressing how honored he was to have been chosen to accept recognition in his uncle, Charles J. Hildenbrand, during the Great Geauga County Fair because he was the first Geauga County resident who died in the Vietnam War.
He said that, although he did not serve in the military, himself, he is thankful for each and every one who has and that, as a public safety official, he feels a certain kinship with military veterans and believes they deserve everyone's respect.
Although Hildenbrand said his deputies aren't often called upon to work off-duty details at NFL-sanctioned events, he still feels strongly about the meaning behind his statement.
"I don't know what (the NFL's) stance is," he said in a Sept. 26 phone interview. "My stance is that, when the National Anthem is played, everyone should stand and remove their hats. When they don't, that's disrespectful - and they're the opening act. They're in uniform and when they don't observe (the playing of the National Anthem), that's disrespectful."
He added that he's even more upset that the team owners and league management haven't done more to intervene when the athletes and role models out on the field dishonor such a long-standing American tradition and tribute to those who have fought for freedom at home and abroad.
"They claim to be unifying people but they're really dividing them," Hildenbrand said. "Some day, that's going to get up into the stands and I don't want any of my deputies getting hurt. It's divisive and they're encouraging it."
Although Lake County deputy sheriffs don't figure into the controversy too much because they don't ever work details at NFL stadiums, Lake County Sheriff Daniel Dunlap said in a Sept. 26 phone interview said he personally stands for the National Anthem wherever he is at the time it's presented.
"I think it's important," he said. "I was always taught to stand for the National Anthem."
He said he does recall instances during which members of certain religious groups whose doctrines prohibit such displays would refrain from standing for the flag. But that's a different situation, he said.
"For example, we had Jehovah's Witnesses in my class," he said. "But when does it start to be disrespectful? I mean, I think it's terrible that it's gotten this far. I mean, we're at a point at which a professional athlete calls the President a (bum). And these guys are supposed to be role models."
Dunlap agreed with Hildenbrand that the NFL's team owners and officials don't seem to be doing enough to dissolve the situation and he feels as though their league may suffer from it.
"I don't think they understand what this is doing and I think they're underestimating the American public," Dunlap said. "The attendance is going down at games. And I think they ought to be careful. I think they underestimate how passionate people, the fans, are about our country."
Dunlap added that, with the exception of high-school football games, the Lake County Sheriff's Office doesn't work security at events like Browns games, nor anywhere alcohol is served. Rather, he said, they encourage organizers to seek out private security firms to handle those kinds of jobs.
"And we wouldn't if asked," he said.
At the end of the day, Hildenbrand said he is whole-heartily disappointed with the NFL organization and its constituents. And it was last Sunday's game in Indianapolis that moved him to make a statement about it.
"That made my mind up," he said of the Sept. 24 game, "My season ticket seats will remain empty the rest of the season."
As far as deputies being prohibited from any NFL-related, off-duty details, he said that will be the case indefinitely and, once again, made it clear he holds team owners, managers and league officials largely responsible.
"It's divisive and they're encouraging it," he said.
It’s in Ohio.
Good for him. All should, including the miiitary honor guards.
Screw the NFL.
Walk away if you have any self respect.
Disrespecting our flag and anthem is corrosive to our nation.
For the football league that purports to be for OUR nation, thats unacceptable.
The league should have nipped this in the bud last year.
They have not and it is spreading.
President Trump was right to call them out.
So is this sheriff.
Every self respecting American should.
I agree. The disrespect and dishonor these over-paid celebrity sport jocks showed to the country, should be enough to make every American recoil in utter disgust.
All police departments should do this. They are putting their lives at risk only to be disrespected by the teams and the owners who condone this behavior. No more police at nfl games.
“It’ll all blow over” (yea right!)
I’m looking forward to the day the owners have to renegotiate the contracts due to loss of revenue.
I'm sure there are clauses in the policies and procedures of most law enforcement agencies, that mandate officers must request permission to take a second job, or perform duties outside of work. I know there was when I worked in uniform. These people are basically on call 24 hours a day, and need to be reachable and ready for duty in case of an emergency. The employer has a right to deny any employee's request for a second job if they feel it will inhibit the officer from performing his official assigned duties.
He bought and paid for the season tickets but won’t use them?
We EXPECT RESPECT.
Lest we forget the infamous words of Michelle Obama while attending the 10th Anniversary Ceremony of the Terrorist attacks on 9/11: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3r3a_24XdU
I was expecting this move. Was just wondering where it was going to happen first. Think about it NFL owners: have it your way - with no law enforcement presence.
Let’s see how that event fairs - especially since there are just enough hoodlums who would love to start something at a game.
The New Black Panthers would be fine. That will draw a lot of attendance.(/S)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.