My email to Coach Spurrier
As a USC graduate and an avid Gamecock football supporter, I was very disappointed in your comments concerning the Confederate battle flag last week. The State of South Carolina has gone through a tremendous amount of turmoil over the past decade concerning the flag mostly because of opportunists who see it as a way to get their name or their group’s name in the news media. We all know the news media are like vultures waiting to grab on to any morsel of controversy they can obtain. This issue was settled by both black and white state lawmakers in 2000. The compromise was to move the flag from the statehouse dome to the Confederate soldier’s monument on the grounds. Is there any more appropriate place for it to fly than at the soldier’s monument? Your comments have opened up a can of worms that had been taken care of and put away.
Obviously by your comments, you are unaware that there are a tremendous amount of folks in this state who are proud of their ancestors. I know we live in an age where most people are “progressive,” and all they care about is the here and now, but many people in this state and across the south are rooted in the values and traditions of our ancestors like honor, loyalty and duty first to our family then to our community then to our state and lastly to our nation. I personally have at least three known direct ancestors who fought to defend their families, their community, and the State of South Carolina under a Confederate flag. It may not have been the exact Confederate flag that now flies on the statehouse grounds, but that flag has come to represent all Confederate soldiers who sacrificed their lives.
Most people want to harp on the issue of slavery when it comes to the issue of the flag. Fact is the institution of slavery existed under the U.S. stars and stripes for many more years than it ever existed under any Confederate flag. Should we do away with the stars and stripes as well? Also the majority of men that fought for the Confederacy were not slave owners as was the case with my ancestors. Slave owners were a small percentage of the population, and many of them lived in the north. Slavery was not made an issue until late in the war when Lincoln wanted to keep the European countries from becoming involved. Do you think all those men who were not slave owners would have given their lives to defend an institution they were not involved in? I think not.
I know the flag has been misused by groups like the modern day KKK, but those groups also carry the stars and stripes and the Christian flag. Again, should we ban those flags as well?
Lastly, perhaps you are unaware that the entire student body of USC (then South Carolina College) left school in 1861 to defend our state. Subsequently, the school had to close for lack of students. That flag that flies on the statehouse grounds represents my ancestors and my fellow alumni from the University of South Carolina who sacrificed their lives to defend their families and their state. I respectfully ask that as a representative of my school and my state that you do not make any more negative comments concerning that flag. You were hired as the head football coach. Please coach football, which you do a fine job. On controversial issues such as this I think “No comment” would be your best course of action.
USC Class of ‘91