Swimmer with American flag on his cap honoring his grandfather killed in 9/11 terrorist attack is disqualified from New Jersey high school race
- The boy has not been identified, but his father, Rob Miller, expressed disappointment
- The American flag on his cap was too big and against competition rules
- The race took place at Morristown’s Senior Night against Parsippany Hills High School
A New Jersey high school swimmer was disqualified from a race for wearing an American flag on his cap in honor of his grandfather, who was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The boy’s father, Rob Miller, said his son, whose name has not been released, was told the flag on his swimming cap was too big and was against competition rules. He said the opposing coach waited until the 400-meter free relay was over to have the insignia measured.
The swim meet took place Thursday night during Morristown High School’s “Senior Night” versus Parsippany Hills High School. Miller’s son is a sophomore at New Jersey High School.
On Friday, Miller took to Twitter and posted his disappointment: “Blood is boiling. My son was part of a 200 Free Relay to win a swim meet on Senior Night. After the last event, the opposing coach asked to measure the size of the American flag on his @SpeedoUSA swim cap. It was 0.2” too big according to standards. DQ’d. You lost.’
Miller pointed out that “the problem is that the coach waited until after the swim to get the DQ and decided to shift the burden of a ‘loss’ onto a 16-year-old and let all the seniors down to let who won their last doubles meeting of their HS career.’
The swim meet took place during Morristown’s Senior Night against Parsippany Hills High School (pictured).
A tweet posted by the boy’s father, Rob Miller, after the ordeal
Miller said this marks the first time his son has worn a swim cap that is different from what he usually wears, calling it “unreal luck”.
“He usually wears the team cap or a different color on the left, with no logo/flag,” he wrote. “The one time he wore this to a competition and the trainer DQed him. Unreal happiness,’ he said.
In a separate tweet, Miller wrote that he “suspects it may have been a political statement.”
Swimming competition rules are extremely specific, including the size of flags allowed on teams’ uniforms.
The National Federation of State High School Associations Swimming and Diving Rules dictate the dimensions.
“An American flag not exceeding 2 inches by 3 inches may be carried or occupy space on any uniform garment.”
“By acceptance by the state association, commemorative or special occasion patches not exceeding four square inches may be worn on the uniform without compromising its integrity,” Fox News reported.
The team rallied to support his teammate, who posted on his Instagram, “Everybody knows the Motown boys were the real winners.”
A stock image of swimmers during swim training
Miller posted a tweet thanking him for the community support he had received
In a later tweet, Miller expressed his gratitude for the support he’d received from fellow parents and the community, saying that his son “wants no ill will from the opposing team.”
His father sharing that his son wore the hat to honor his grandpa who died during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed 2,996 people – 2,753 people were killed in and around the World Trade Center , 184 to the Pentagon and 40 in Pennsylvania.
“Thank you for supporting my son’s swim DQ. Tough rule with a tough penalty but we will learn from it,” he wrote.
“My son doesn’t wish any ill will on the opposing team and just wants everyone to be able to swim again. Hopefully the spirit of this rule can be changed in the future.’