Dare leads to ‘stupid mistake’ by Powell Valley student
By Claire Galofaro | Police Beat Reporter - Bristol Herald Courier
Published: May 12, 2010
Updated: May 13, 2010
Acting on a dare late last month, a Powell Valley baseball player lined up with his fellow Vikings for the National Anthem, unzipped his pants and urinated on the field.
“We want to make this very clear, this kid did nothing that he considered unpatriotic,” Wise County Schools Superintendent Jeff Perry said. “It was a stupid mistake; he has accepted responsibility. And that, coupled with the fact that he has had a very good record in the past – he’s going to pay for it, but we don’t have to behead him, we don’t have to crucify him.”
Perry would not say what the punishment entailed, citing student privacy. He also declined to name the boy.
Yet a half a dozen sources in Big Stone Gap, who asked that their names not be published, named Jacob Huff, a football star and “all-around good kid from a good family.” According to the team’s on-line roster, the sophomore is a varsity pitcher and outfielder. He’s a celebrated quarterback on the football team, according to accounts in sports pages across the Tri-Cities, and his father is listed on the Powell Valley High School’s website as a coach and physical education teacher.
“I don’t feel any animosity toward him, and in no way would I want to hurt this kid,” said Joe Rasnick, commander of Big Stone Gap’s Veterans of Foreign Wars. “It’s what he did that I despise.”
Rasnick heard about it the day after it happened, at a meeting of veterans.
“We were all disheartened that a youngster would do that,” Rasnick said. “I don’t think anyone was fiery angry, more of a sorrowful kind of anger. But as hurtful and hateful a symbol as that one, the First Amendment gives him the right to do it, and thank God we still have that freedom. But it’s just very disrespectful to the flag, and especially to us guys who served our time.”
It happened at a Vikings home game, against Pound High School, on April 30, with Pound’s Principal Marcia Shortt right behind home plate. She said last week that she didn’t actually see it, but just heard about it. She declined to comment further.
Perry said the boy did not choose to urinate during the singing of the National Anthem as a sign of disrespect to country or flag. It was happenstance, he said.