A North Carolina school district canceled a football game on Friday ahead of a rally to support cheerleaders put on probation for holding a Trump 2020 banner at a game in late August.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) said it canceled the game at North Stanly High School because “Stanly County Schools has been notified of additional information that could compromise safety measures our schools have in place for sporting events,” according to the Charlotte Observer.
However, that did not stop the cheerleader’s supporters from continuing with their plans to hold the rally outside the school’s football stadium in New London on Friday.
“There was no threat,” said organizer Jeremy Onitreb during the event. “Nobody’s coming up there to hurt the kids. It’s not what this was about.”
In a Facebook live video on the event page, Onitreb said the school district canceled the game because someone wanted to prohibit the cheerleaders from exercising their right to free speech.
“The reason they decided to cancel the game is because somebody out there wanted to shut down our free speech so bad — they wanted to shut this rally down so bad — that they were willing to call the school and threaten the school,” he commented.
On September 17, Breitbart News reported that the cheerleaders were placed on probation after they posted a pre-game photo of themselves holding the pro-Trump banner on social media.
The school claimed that some students said the photo made them feel “uncomfortable” and decided to place the cheerleaders on probation for the remainder of the football season.
“One of the rules we have is that every contest should be conducted in a wholesome, athletic environment,” said NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker. “We take that to mean that it’s in an environment where good sportsmanship is shown, where people feel safe … that respect for all people participating is being shown.”
However, reports said school officials did not make it clear what “additional information” they received that caused them to cancel the football game.
At the rally on Friday, attendees wore Make America Great Again hats and waved Trump 2020 flags and American flags to show their support for the cheerleaders.
“If there’s a Bernie flag, if there’s a Biden flag, I don’t care,” Onitreb said, “In this country, we have the right to support who we want, and that’s what this is about.”