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asteroidboy
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#1 Posted on 26.2.03 1637.26
Reposted on: 26.2.10 1637.41
Click Here (nytimes.com)


How dare this girl exercise her rights to free speech!



(edited by asteroidboy on 26.2.03 1639)
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PalpatineW
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#2 Posted on 26.2.03 1933.00
Reposted on: 26.2.10 1938.41
You seem to forget that it goes both ways. She has a right to her opinion, and everyone else has a right to disagree with it. Last I checked, the University president is firmly on the girl's side. I don't see the problem here.
Bizzle Izzle
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#3 Posted on 26.2.03 1946.29
Reposted on: 26.2.10 1949.46

"How dare this girl exercise her rights to free speech! "

Except it violates the school's code of conduct which has rules against causing disruptions of the sort she's causing. Bill O'Reilly made some sense when he said keep her in the locker room until the anthem's over and then let her out. That way, she has her little pissant protest and she doesn't piss off everyone in the gymnasium.
drjayphd
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#4 Posted on 26.2.03 2050.00
Reposted on: 26.2.10 2051.25
Maybe it's me, but aren't people like the vet running onto the court in MID-GAME to wave a flag in front of her face more of a distraction than someone not facing the flag during the anthem? (shrug)
vsp
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#5 Posted on 26.2.03 2229.17
Reposted on: 26.2.10 2233.13
It's hard for me to imagine how her situation could be much more ridiculous. Not because she's protesting, not because others are jeering her for it, but because people (locally AND nationally) are making such a big deal out of it!

Seriously, folks. She's a college basketball player; she has issues with America's government and its policies; she chooses to express this by not participating in a ritualized group expression of patriotism before her games. She's not turning and facing a piece of decorated cloth that symbolizes "America," because she interprets that symbol in a different way than most people do.

So what? Why should anyone feel threatened by this? Is America doomed and headed for collapse if everybody doesn't buck up and salute a piece of colored cloth before sporting events?

The sad thing is that it's not her beliefs themselves drawing the hate -- it's the SYMBOLIC aspect of her refusal to participate. If she had written a series of articles for her school paper detailing her objections instead, or kept a running journal/blog discussing these subjects, she wouldn't be drawing a hundredth of this much heat.

But people attach artificial importance to the flag, as if attacking or supporting the symbol had any effect on what the symbol represents. As if the flag stands only for the GOOD things about America, and not America as a whole, warts and all. As if there was only one "proper" way to interpret the symbol that is the American flag. As if saluting OR refuting the flag is in any way important, except on a personal level. As if the anthem and the flag have anything to do with the sporting event to follow -- which is the whole reason the players and fans are there in the first place.

Me, I'm proud of her, in a way. She sees something wrong with America, and she cares enough about America to continue protesting against what she feels is wrong, despite the flak she's taking from those who disagree with her. She's being an individual in the face of groupthink. To me, that's part of what being an American is all about.

(edited by vsp on 26.2.03 2030)
Pool-Boy
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#6 Posted on 27.2.03 0142.17
Reposted on: 27.2.10 0143.18
You know, this might surprise a hell of a lot of people, but I am on this girl's side.

I do not agree with her stance, this is true. But I think her protest was tasteful and appropriate. She may not be saluting the flag, but she is not desecrating it. There is a huge difference between burning a flag and refusing to face it.

Plus, her protest is not only non-confrontational, but it invites debate. Unlike the people who hold signs and scream in your face (and are totally unwilling to debate), her form of protest forces to you talk to her to even find out what she is doing and why. And it invites debate. I like this.

I take protesters like this a hell of a lot more seriously than a group of mis-guided naked people spelling things in the snow. A whole lot more seriously...

And as far as the school's right to ban her from doing this, I really don't think they have any cause to do so here. You can't force pledging allegiance to anything... that is definitly not constitutional...
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#7 Posted on 27.2.03 0618.30
Reposted on: 27.2.10 0621.02

    Originally posted by Pool-Boy
    You know, this might surprise a hell of a lot of people, but I am on this girl's side.

And so am I. Nothing in the Constitution prevents people from such a display, even if they are completely ignorant of the issue.

In fact, Pool-Boy pretty much nailed it on the head.
RYDER FAKIN
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#8 Posted on 27.2.03 0717.26
Reposted on: 27.2.10 0717.55
VSP~!: Me, I'm proud of her, in a way. She sees something wrong with America, and she cares enough about America to continue protesting against what she feels is wrong, despite the flak she's taking from those who disagree with her. She's being an individual in the face of groupthink. To me, that's part of what being an American is all about.

You know, I felt the same way until I watched the SportsCenter lead story this morning. They gave her carte blanche to espouse her views re: America – it all boiled down to the same, tired “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” (Her quote, not mine). Such a shame from someone (if there *is* a need for it) who could make a difference. C’est la vie.

FLEA


(edited by RYDER FAKIN on 27.2.03 0906)
vsp
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#9 Posted on 27.2.03 0751.56
Reposted on: 27.2.10 0753.59

    Originally posted by RYDER FAKIN
    Pool-Boy: Me, I'm proud of her, in a way. She sees something wrong with America, and she cares enough about America to continue protesting against what she feels is wrong, despite the flak she's taking from those who disagree with her. She's being an individual in the face of groupthink. To me, that's part of what being an American is all about.

    You know, I felt the same way until I watched the SportsCenter lead story this morning. They gave her carte blanche to espouse her views re: America – it all boiled down to the same, tired “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” (Her quote, not mine). Such a shame from someone (if there *is* a need for it) who could make a difference. C’est la vie.

    FLEA



Two quibbles:

(1) That was my quote, not Pool-Boy's. Though I am pleasantly surprised to see that nobody's called me a Communist yet (in this thread, anyway).
(2) If I had about a minute or less to express my political opinions and beliefs on national television, I'd probably sound simplistic, too. Not everything can be wrapped up in quick-and-effective sound bites.
asteroidboy
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#10 Posted on 27.2.03 0832.58
Reposted on: 27.2.10 0846.32

    Originally posted by drjayphd
    Maybe it's me, but aren't people like the vet running onto the court in MID-GAME to wave a flag in front of her face more of a distraction than someone not facing the flag during the anthem? (shrug)


This is my main gripe. Vets DON'T have carte blanche to squash war protesters. I'm glad they fought, but just because people disagree with them or disagree with war doesn't make them bad people.
Dexley's Midnight Jogger
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#11 Posted on 27.2.03 0950.54
Reposted on: 27.2.10 0959.06
Is there a way I can get the article without having to register with the website?
DJ FrostyFreeze
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#12 Posted on 27.2.03 0956.13
Reposted on: 27.2.10 0959.11
Player's Protest Over the Flag Divides Fans
By BILL PENNINGTON


URCHASE, N.Y., Feb. 25 — It was the smallest of gestures inside the tiniest of college basketball gymnasiums, a half-revolution of the body that had gone unnoticed for months.

But a few weeks ago, people at Manhattanville College's women's basketball games began to recognize that the senior guard Toni Smith would quietly turn her back to the American flag during the pregame playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," a silent protest, they learned, of America's potential involvement in an Iraqi war.

In that context, it soon was no longer a small step or a simple turn.

Smith's noiseless protest led to a clamorous, sellout crowd for a game inside Manhattanville's 50-year-old, 300-seat, cinder block gym tonight in the middle of the college's leafy campus 25 miles north of New York City. It brought 15 protesters outside the college's main gate waving flags and placards, and a retinue of police officers and security guards to watch them. It attracted 20 photographers and a handful of national television cameramen who encircled the Manhattanville bench to get a glimpse of Smith as she turned her back and stared at the floor.

It brought chants of "U.S.A.!" from a small band inside the gym and it brought louder, more vociferous chanting — "We love Toni!" — from a larger group at the other end of the gym. Minutes before the game was to begin, it moved one fan to yell, "You're a disgrace!" Which moved another fan to yell back, "You're an idiot!"

Smith did not alter her routine, but after the game she chose for the first time to explain her actions.

"I never meant this to be a public statement," said Smith, a 21-year-old sociology major raised on Manhattan's Upper West Side. "I did it for my own self-respect and conscience. My stance is not a personal attack on Vietnam veterans or any war veterans. I know the flag represents people who have died for this country and I support them. But the flag means different things to everyone.

"A lot of people blindly stand up and salute the flag, but I feel that blindly facing the flag hurts more people. There are a lot of inequities in this country, and these are issues that needed to be acknowledged. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and our priorities are elsewhere."

In a written statement Smith released five days ago, she made reference to the potential for a war in Iraq as part of the reason for her protest. Today, she did not mention war, although it was clearly in the minds of the small band that congregated on campus.

"Not respecting the flag is disrespecting your country and all the people who died for it," said Kirt Sloan, 22, of Armonk, who attended the game, sat in the balcony overlooking the court and booed Smith when she was introduced. Sloan said his father was a Vietnam veteran.

"You can disagree with the government's policies but not the symbols that every American should stand for. She could have protested in other ways that wouldn't insult veterans. Especially now, when our soldiers are getting ready to go to war again."

College officials said they had received a flood of e-mail messages and calls, many in support of Smith's stand and the college's support of her right to express herself.

"But there are many who would like to see us all arrested," Mary Corrarino, Manhattanville's vice president for student affairs, said of the response the college has received.

In a game at Manhattanville on Sunday, Jerry Kiley of Garnerville ran onto the court and confronted Smith with an American flag. After the game, Kiley, who said he was a Vietnam vet, told reporters, "She has not earned the right to disrespect the flag."

The Manhattanville president, Richard A. Berman, said he supported Smith's right to express her opinion because it was done in a quiet and dignified way. "It is not about the flag to us," Berman said. "We support our troops, but I think it is healthy to have kids on college campuses expressing their views. That's where the energy comes from."

Smith's teammates today universally professed their support for Smith, though they did not say they agreed with her views. Indeed, college officials have indicated there was some discord over Smith's on-court protest earlier in the season, but after a lengthy team meeting it was decided the team could focus on its collective commitment to the basketball season, and to Smith as a teammate.

"We've been to a lot of places in the last few weeks and Toni has been taunted and people have said nasty things to her," said the team's captain, Latasha Carlos of Brooklyn. "I couldn't have taken it. I probably would have cried. But Toni was poised and so composed. I'm so proud of her."

Manhattanville won today's game, 67-51, against the United States Merchant Marine Academy. When Manhattanville played at Kings Points on Feb. 11, hundreds of cadets jeered Smith, waving flags and booing whenever she touched the ball.

Today, in the 10-minute news conference she conducted after the game, Smith, who scored 4 points and had 8 rebounds in the game, thanked the fans for the support she had received at home games. But she was booed by a faction of the fans today, even at home, for the early parts of the game. About a dozen fans turned their backs to the court when Smith attempted free throws. And she faced persistent questions about whether a protest that could be construed as antiwar was prudent when the United States may be on the eve of war.

Asked by a television reporter if she thought her protest was giving solace to or empowering Saddam Hussein, Smith stoically answered, "I doubt Saddam Hussein is watching me right now."

Smith insisted her stance was not rooted in any specific personal belief.

"My Manhattanville education has opened my eyes to many things," she said. "And that includes values learned as a part of a basketball team. We are still together and playing better and better. That may not be the story that brought everyone here tonight, but it could be."

Manhattanville has a 17-9 record. Its next game, the semifinals of the Skyline Conference, is at home Thursday.
calvinh0560
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#13 Posted on 27.2.03 1010.22
Reposted on: 27.2.10 1011.09

    Originally posted by asteroidboy

      Originally posted by drjayphd
      Maybe it's me, but aren't people like the vet running onto the court in MID-GAME to wave a flag in front of her face more of a distraction than someone not facing the flag during the anthem? (shrug)


    This is my main gripe. Vets DON'T have carte blanche to squash war protesters. I'm glad they fought, but just because people disagree with them or disagree with war doesn't make them bad people.



Yes that is true but if this is a one time deal with someone walking up to her with the American Flag then I don’t mind it that much. I just see it as a counter protest to hers. Now IF she is harassed every single time she does this then whoever is putting the flag in her face should be arrested.
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#14 Posted on 27.2.03 1018.34
Reposted on: 27.2.10 1020.19
Look at that service, Dexley. You ask for the article and within 6 minutes Frosty's got the whole shebang right there for you. Thanks, Frosty!
DJ FrostyFreeze
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#15 Posted on 27.2.03 1042.28
Reposted on: 27.2.10 1051.26
Glad to be of service!
Dexley's Midnight Jogger
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#16 Posted on 27.2.03 1059.03
Reposted on: 27.2.10 1059.13
Yes, thank you for posting that. Not to get too far off topic, but it reminds me of that movie "Amazing Grace and Chuck".

I support her right to express her views in a non-violent manner.
Peter The Hegemon
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#17 Posted on 27.2.03 1111.16
Reposted on: 27.2.10 1129.04
You know what? I love America, and I love the flag. And one of the main reasons that I feel that way is because America was one of the first places where you could do something like that--protest your government when it's doing wrong, or even when you mistakenly think it is doing something wrong. (And while I wouldn't be moved to protest in the same way, that doesn't mean that I think her points are completely without merit, either.) Real American patriotism means, as that old rasslin theme tells us, that you "fight for the rights of every man (and woman)"

Besides, that Toni Smith is way cute!
jfkfc
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#18 Posted on 28.2.03 1011.18
Reposted on: 28.2.10 1012.50

    Originally stated by Toni Smith
    "I never meant this to be a public statement," said Smith, a 21-year-old sociology major raised on Manhattan's Upper West Side. "I did it for my own self-respect and conscience. My stance is not a personal attack on Vietnam veterans or any war veterans. I know the flag represents people who have died for this country and I support them. But the flag means different things to everyone.
If it wasn't meant to be a public statement, why do it in public? If it is all about how you feel inside, then during the anthem why not think of other things, or recite a mantra of your beliefs in your head, hum a Pet Shop Boys tune quietly, or something else non-publicly? Hey, if she wants to turn her back during the anthem, no one is going to stop her, and no one should (though my views don't jibe with hers), but to say that it wasn't meant to be a public statement when you are making the statement publicly where you can be seen and noticed, that is rather inconsistant, in my opinion.
vsp
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#19 Posted on 28.2.03 1208.43
Reposted on: 28.2.10 1211.48

    Originally posted by jfkfc
    Hey, if she wants to turn her back during the anthem, no one is going to stop her, and no one should (though my views don't jibe with hers), but to say that it wasn't meant to be a public statement when you are making the statement publicly where you can be seen and noticed, that is rather inconsistant, in my opinion.


I'm inferring that she meant that she wasn't doing it to intentionally attract attention. She wasn't burning a flag at center court, flipping the bird at the flag, or loudly reciting variations on Iron Sheik riffs (IRAQ - NUMBER ONE! TONI SMITH - NUMBER ONE! AMERICA - HAAAACK - PTOOOOIE!), for example.

Instead, she turned away from the flag and stood quietly until the anthem was over and it was time to play basketball. That's not what I would call confrontational or theatrical (or, IMHO, even inappropriate) behavior. The fact that so many people felt personally threatened by this, and that it's subsequently blown up to national-news proportions, is more saddening than amusing on the whole.

Some of the anti-Toni responses absolutely crack me up, however. Shoving flags in her face, marching with flags and placards outside where she plays, chanting "Leave this country"... what kind of mentality do these people have?

Sometimes I wish I could take a pill and experience this kind of mindset, just for half an hour, as long as it was guaranteed to wear off. "A college student isn't facing the flag. THIS MATTERS TO ME, DEEPLY! The fate of our Great Nation is at stake! I must go wave a flag at her, so that she'll see the error of her ways and CONFORM during our ritualized displays of patriotism! I have nothing more important to do than to go and challenge this wayward youth in person!"

Sheesh.
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#20 Posted on 28.2.03 1350.53
Reposted on: 28.2.10 1352.46
ESPN.com also has the video up from the piece they did on this story.
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