Taking a page from football player Colin Kaepernick’s playbook, a former Navy intelligence specialist refused to stand for the national anthem during morning colors back in September of 2016.
Note that we said “former.” Petty Officer 2nd Class Janaye Ervin was promptly stripped of her security clearance, assigned to menial labor for a few days, then shown the exit hatch.
On Sept. 19, Ervin refused to stand for the anthem while on reserve duty at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. She claimed she was trying to make a statement about the persecution of blacks in America, the International Business Times reported.
“I just didn’t want to stand at that moment,” Ervin said. “I can’t stand for this song knowing that the song isn’t for me, being black. The song doesn’t represent me at all. To be honest, I never really thought about the flag my entire life, I had no reason to. It’s just a flag.”
We’ll just let you chew on that for a moment.
The next day, Ervin was read her rights before being given a warning about potentially compromising her security clearance — one that she needed for both her civilian and military jobs. Within 24 hours, she was stripped of her clearance and escorted out of her secure workplace.
Ervin claimed she wasn’t informed which order she was violating.
Really? It’s the 10th general order for sentries, which is taught in Navy boot camp. You memorize the 11 general orders until they are burned into your brain. Violation of any one of them is subject to Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and is subject to whatever punishment is decided by court-martial.
That’s how the military works, and for good reason. Everyone knows it going in.
On Sept. 21, Ervin decided to go public. She posted to Facebook, “The Navy has decided to punish me for defending the Constitution and has taken away my equipment I need to do my Naval job,” according to PopularMilitary.com.
Let’s set this straight: The Navy didn’t take anything from her. She forfeited it when she decided to disobey a general order.
The Washington Post reported that a petition was started to keep black service members out of jail for refusing to stand for the national anthem.
Yeah, like we should encourage that.
While the U.S. Navy was not pursuing charges, they did not have much to say on the matter. A Navy Reserve Forces spokesperson said only that “Petty Officer Janaye Ervin has fulfilled her obligation of enlistment and was honorably discharged from the United States Navy.”
When you’re a sailor, the Navy is your boss. You may disagree with the rules all you want, but you never, never break them.
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