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Second Sailor 'Under Review' for Refusing to Stand for Anthem

Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Janaye Ervin. Facebook photo
Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Janaye Ervin. Facebook photo

Call it the Kaepernick effect.

As more pro athletes around the country follow San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's lead and take a knee for the Star Spangled Banner in protest, a second sailor has gone public with her own gesture of solidarity.

Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Janaye Ervin, a reservist on active duty within U.S. Pacific Fleet, is subject to administrative actions, still under review, for refusing to stand for the national anthem while in uniform Sept. 19, Bill Doughty, a spokesman for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs told Military.com.

Ervin posted a public account of her actions to Facebook on Sept. 21.

"I have been proudly serving in the US Navy Reserve Force since November 2008. I have pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to spread freedom and democracy around the world. I will never waver from that pledge," she wrote in the post, which included a photograph of herself in her Navy blue digital camouflage work uniform.

Her choice not to stand for the anthem was a conscious decision, made for ideological reasons, she said.

"I feel like a hypocrite singing about the 'land of the free' when I know that only applies to some Americans," she wrote. "I will gladly stand again, when ALL AMERICANS are afforded the same freedom."

According to activist and New York Daily News reporter Shaun King, who publicized Ervin's case on Twitter along with a Change.org petition supporting her, Ervin said she lost her security clearance and was threatened with jail by the Navy in response to her actions.

Doughty would not confirm that Ervin lost her clearance or that any other specific actions were taken in connection with her.

Like Kaepernick, Ervin's protest refers to the Black Lives Matter movement and reported incidents of black Americans losing their lives at the hands of law enforcement officers in episodes allegedly driven by racial bias. Ervin did not specify what actions she wanted taken to ensure Americans equal freedom.

"The Navy has decided to punish me for defending the Constitution and has taken away my equipment I need to do my Naval job," she wrote. "It was my pleasure serving my country, I love it dearly, that is why I must do this for you. I will keep you all posted on what happens next!"

She did not immediately respond to a Military.com message requesting comment.

Ervin's protest comes two weeks after another sailor attached to Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Florida, filmed herself refusing to stand for the morning ceremony known as "Colors," in which the national anthem is played while all troops on an installation stand at attention or salute.

That sailor, who has not been identified publicly, was subject to administrative action but allowed to remain at her command, officials with Naval Education and Training Command told Military.com.

Unlike Kaepernick and other pro sports players, these service members could be prosecuted for breaking a law under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which governs the actions of active-duty troops.

Navy rules state that troops must stand and face the flag when the National Anthem is played. Troops in uniform must salute, while troops not in uniform must stand at attention and place their right hand over their heart. Failure to obey these rules could be charged as a violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- failure to obey a lawful general order or regulation.

The Defense Department and the Navy have not issued any guidance to troops addressing the recent protests.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

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