A US Navy sailor faces discipline after failing to salute as the national anthem played during a recent morning flag-raising at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in a protest that echoes recent moves by professional athletes against racial injustice and police brutality.
The US Pacific Fleet spokesman Senior Chief Petty Officer Joel Cesar said Tuesday that the Navy has investigated the case of Petty Officer 2nd Class Janaye Ervin, an intelligence specialist in the Navy Reserve.
The spokesman said it’s up to the sailor’s commander whether she faces any punishment for failing to salute the flag on September 19.
Ervin is assigned to the Navy Operational Support Center at North Island, California. She was recently in Hawaii for about two weeks for a military exercise.
"I feel like a hypocrite singing about the 'land of the free' when I know that only applies to some Americans," she wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. "I will gladly stand again, when ALL AMERICANS are afforded the same freedom."
US Navy guidelines require sailors in uniform to salute during the anthem. The Navy’s Uniform Code of Military Justice says that troops can be punished for failing to obey a lawful general order.
Ervin said she was threatened with jail time for her actions.
Colin Kaepernick, a professional American football player, received national attention when he refused to stand for the anthem before preseason games earlier this year.
Kaepernick cited racial injustice and police brutality against minorities among the reasons for his actions. Since then, other athletes across the US have engaged in their own protests during the anthem.
The national anthem protests come at a time when anti-police sentiment is already high across the US due to a surge of unjustified killings of unarmed African Americans over the past few months.