Ref who quit after students’ anthem protest is a ‘coward’: coach

MONROE, N.J. — A highschool soccer coach criticized a referee who refused to officiate a recreation after members of the opposing workforce knelt in the course of the nationwide anthem.

Referees Ernie Lunardelli and his son, Anthony, stated they informed officers from Colts Neck and Monroe excessive faculties earlier than Friday night time’s recreation they might stroll off the sector if any gamers protested. They stated they respect gamers’ proper to protest however consider such acts are disrespectful.

Colts Neck Coach Darian Barnes informed that Ernie Lunardelli yelled at Monroe gamers after some knelt, and he needed to be pulled off the sector, accusations Lunardelli denies. Lunardelli stated he solely stopped on his approach off the sector after a coach from Monroe yelled at him.

“One of many coaches stated one thing and it sort of irked me, and I simply rotated and I used to be trying to see who it was,” Lunardelli stated. “No one pulled me; I walked off.”

Barnes agrees referees and gamers ought to have the ability to categorical their views however says Lunardelli was “a coward” to yell on the teenage gamers.

“It wasn’t troublesome to observe these youngsters kneel and it wasn’t troublesome to observe him depart the sport due to it,” Barnes stated. “His anger was troublesome. His anger, the best way he yelled, the look on his face — it bothered … me.”

Barnes additionally stated he was advised earlier than the sport by the top referee that the crew had requested the Monroe gamers who may kneel to remain within the locker room for the anthem to keep away from any issues.

The development of kneeling in the course of the nationwide anthem began within the NFL, the place some gamers kneel to protest social injustices, notably towards African-People.

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