The Confederate Flag has been a hot topic in the world of college athletics this year. Ever since the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina and the flag being taken down at the South Carolina state capitol building, there has been a war of words between people who support the flag and those who oppose it.
Some college football coaches have spoken out against the flag since the incident. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze even supported the idea for a change in the Mississippi state flag, which still prominently features the flag pattern that has been long associated with the States of the Confederacy.
Now, some football players are speaking out against the flag itself. According to SI.com, Ole Miss linebacker C.J. Johnson talked with ESPN, along with twelve others, about race and college football. They were asked about racism as it relates to Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker’s Snapchat video in which he responded to a racist chant by an Oklahoma fraternity that surfaced earlier this year.
Johnson’s comments were nothing short of controversial.
“It sickens me when I see [a Confederate flag] on people’s cars on campus. If you have the Confederate flag on your vehicle, you have a problem,” Johnson said. “And I don’t care if it’s socially what you believe in or it’s morally what you believe in or you’re just doing it for s—s and giggles. It’s just the fact of what it stands for. It’s almost like you might as well put a tag on the front of your car that says ‘n—–.’ That’s really what it boils down to. You might as well just put a big tag on the front of your car or hang a big flag on the back of your car and just say the N-word.”
Many people feel the same way Johnson does about the flag and what it may or may not represent. Personally, I have no feelings for or against it. Does the flag itself belong at a state capitol building? No and that is why I applaud South Carolina for taking it down.
Johnson also has to realize that he lives in the only state whose flag still features the “stars and bars” pattern. He must realize that Ole Miss’s mascot, the Rebels, is mostly based on the Confederacy and tons of these flags can be seen being waved at tailgate parties and even during games in Oxford.
Lastly, Johnson has to realize that this is a free country. Everyone is allowed to support whatever they want and he is allowed to agree or disagree with them.
One thing I will point out though is that most of the fans who attend the games in Oxford and wave those Confederate Flags are white and are probably cheering for Johnson along with the rest of the black members of the team to do well. If they were as racist as he believes, would they really want to see their team, which is made up of more blacks than whites, do well?
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports