Military officials are investigating petty officer Janaye Ervin’s claim that she had her security clearance stripped and was threatened with jail time after she refused to stand for the national anthem while on duty in Hawaii, a Navy spokesman told International Business Times Friday.
Ervin wrote on her personal Facebook page Wednesday that she “made the conscious decision to not stand for the Star Spangled Banner because I feel like a hypocrite, singing about ‘land of the free’ when, I know that only applies to some Americans.”
When asked about the Facebook post, the spokesman confirmed Ervin’s rank, a reservist petty officer second-class with a rating of intelligence specialist, and that an incident that took place at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is being investigated. He could not confirm Ervin’s claim that she refused to stand for the “Star Spangled Banner” while on short-term duty in Hawaii.
Because of the investigation, the spokesman said he could not confirm if Ervin’s security clearance was taken away or her claim that she was threatened with jail time, which she told New York Daily News reporter Shaun King last week.
Though she did not cite him by name, Ervin has taken a similar stance as that of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick, who began his protest against how African Americans and minorities are treated in the United States by sitting and later kneeling while the national anthem is played during the NFL preseason last month.
Kaepernick’s ongoing protest has sparked a national debate over civil and constitutional rights and become the subject of ridicule and death threats. It's also inspired fellow NFL players and American professional athletes to take similar positions on not standing for the national anthem.
Ervin’s stand has not generated the same kind of national attention. Recently, a petition was started on crowdsourcing campaign site Change.org asking President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, California Jerry Brown, and others to keep Ervin out of jail. So far it’s received only 51 online supporters.
The Navy spokesman said Ervin was supposed to return from her short-term duty to her home state of California on Friday. Her Facebook page says she lives in Los Angeles. Ervin has yet to respond to a request for comment from IBTimes.