No one wins when outside groups join the effort to ‘save the flag’

Published 11:35 am Friday, September 23, 2016

As Oxonians and Ole Miss fans prepare for tomorrow’s match-up against Georgia — the third straight home game of the season — many are wondering if last weekend’s flag-related issues will return in a different form this weekend, with more people trying to smuggle flags into the stadium or advocate for their cause while tailgaters mingle in the Grove.

On Thursday, we discovered the person who claimed ownership of the large confiscated flag unfurled before the Alabama game isn’t a student or even an Ole Miss fan, but a member of the Delta Flaggers, a pro-flag group directly tied to the Virginia Flaggers (the group that claims to have sent two large flags to Mississippi for the purposes of making a statement like what happened last week).

We support everyone’s right to peaceably protest in public places, no matter the venue. The flag issue is complex and voices on all sides deserve the right to be heard. But just as we’ve seen with other race-related issues at Ole Miss in the past — from Colonel Reb to From Dixie with Love to the renaming of Confederate Drive — outside groups are parachuting in to support their own cause, misrepresenting at least part of the student body in the process.

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If Ole Miss students want to readdress the issue of restoring the state flag on their campus, they can certainly do so. But it’s a shame to be associated with groups like the Delta Flaggers who are actively campaigning to disrupt game day at multiple public universities in Mississippi, schools they don’t attend, just to prove a point.