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Navy Sailor Forced to Do Manual Labor as Punishment for Refusing to Stand for National Anthem

Seemingly taking a page from football player Colin Kaepernick’s playbook, a former Navy intelligence specialist recently refused to stand for the national anthem during morning colors.

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

As a sailor, the Navy is your boss. You can disagree with the rules all you want, but as with any job, you shouldn’t break the rules unless you no longer want that job.