In response to a high school football team kneeling during the national anthem to support Colin Kaepernick’s protest, referees Ernie Lunardelli and Anthony Lunardelli left the field. Ernie expressed his frustration with what he saw as disrespect towards America and the military, stating, “I’m not in favor of anyone disrespecting our country, our flag, the armed forces.”
Ernie had previously informed the league that he would quit if players knelt during his officiated game. When students did kneel, Ernie and his son kept their promise by walking off the field.
Two cadets replaced them on the field, leading Ernie to question the game’s legitimacy. He asserted, “That game should not count now… They’re putting the kids in jeopardy.” Ernie also mentioned he had a lawyer ready to defend his stance, refusing to be driven out.