DUBLIN, Texas - A North Texas football team is being saluted for their pre-game gesture.
A single photo of the Dublin Lions is getting a lot of attention online, especially now that people are taking sides on national anthem protests.
The photo has gone viral across the country. When the Lions ran out on the field September 29, every player was carrying the U.S. flag. It was to honor the military and is something they do every year.
It brought State Representative Pat Fallon to Dublin with certificates for players and coaches recognizing the team's patriotism.
"We realize that people are watching now,” said Lions team member Ryan Belew. “Then, we didn't know there was going to be publicity. We just did it because it was the right thing to do at the right time."
It is a time when the anthem controversy has seen players both professional and at the high school level take a knee before and during the national anthem. The Lions say not them.
"I feel proud for our team for sticking up for what we believe in and showing unity at this particular time in the country,” said team member Ethan Price.
"I was hurt that game. But just seeing my teammates run out of the tunnel with all the flags was a pretty neat feeling,” said team member Tim Teten.
The UIL has no policy about pre-game ceremonies, whether it's taking a knee or taking up a flag. The league says it leaves those decisions to individual schools and districts because each has its own unique needs.
Head Coach Bob Cervetto says he talks to his team about how they have rights because of people who fought for that freedom. So far, they’ve chosen to stand with the flag.
"We talk about faith. We talk about family,” he explained. “And then we talk about fun. And that's talked about when you play together as a team and try to do things as a team to try to be successful. We haven't crossed that path yet.”
At every game, the Dublin Lions carry in the U.S. flag, the state flag and the team flag. But since September when they did it, several other high school teams across the country have started a game with every player carrying the American flag.