A mother in Lewisville, Texas is demanding answers after her 21-year-old son arrived home from football practice earlier this month sporting a Confederate flag hat.
“Everybody just kind of went into an uproar because he comes in wearing this hat like it’s just a regular hat,” Amelia Mornes-Njoka told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
Mornes-Njoka said her son, Austen Mornes, is autistic and has been playing for the city’s Special Olympics flag football team for almost eight years now. The doting mother thought her son was in good hands but is now questioning what led three white coaches to gift her son with such a hat.
Recalling the incident, Mornes said he was of unsure what the flag symbolized, so he asked one of his coaches.
“He told me, like, ‘put it on, keep it on, show it to your mom and stuff,’ ” the young man said. “I said, ‘What does the flag stand for?’ I said, ‘I don’t have no clue,’ and he says, ‘Freedom.’ ”
Mornes-Njoka told the station she feared the coaches purposely mislead her son about the flag’s meaning and its racist ties to the Confederate South.
“My worst feeling was that they were sitting there watching him and probably snickering or laughing under their breath…,” she added. “You trust these people with your kid who has a disability. As far as I knew, I knew them well enough for my son to be around them without my supervision.”
A spokesperson for the Lewis Independent School District addressed the incident in a statement but stopped short of saying whether the coaches involved would face disciplinary action.
“The adult volunteer, who is not an LISD employee, was wearing a cap the former student expressed interest in,” the statement read. “The student took the cap home. The volunteer coach contacted the parents to discuss what happened, and believed the situation had been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.”
“The adult volunteers with the Special Olympics are happy to speak directly with the family if concerns remain,” it continued.
Mornes-Njoka was less than satisfied, however. Her son agreed, saying he thought it was “no good” to go back and play for the team.
Watch more in the video below.