VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A sports reporter with the website Recruit757 said he was escorted by police out of a high school football game like a criminal just for doing his job.
Thursday night's football game at Salem High School was accompanied by rain. Jamaar Hawkins said he ran to his car during the national anthem because he needed to protect his gear from the rain.
"I didn't want my bag to be out in the rain because I had my computer in it," said Hawkins.
He understands with people protesting during the National Anthem, how his actions may have been viewed as a protest. But he said he was not protesting, just trying to protect his equipment from the rain and was singled out by the athletic director.
"He said no you're not coming back in here. I'm like excuse me? You can't do that," said Hawkins, who said he is a known member of the press. He said a police officer was called and escorted him away from the game.
"I felt completely embarrassed to have them escort me out like I'm a criminal when I'm just a reporter trying to do my job. That was the lowest I ever felt in my life," said Hawkins.
Virginia Beach Public Schools said in a statement:
The Principal is aware Hawkins called, but because the Principal has been out of the building, he has been unable to look into the matter and call Hawkins back.
"I don`t want to disrespect Salem. I love the school. I love the athletes there. It's not against them, it's not against the principal. It's against the athletic director. I just don't understand what point he was trying to make last night," said Hawkins.
Hawkins does want to make a point - his actions were not a protest.
"I didn't want people to think that's what I was doing. I'm not against it at all," said Hawkins. "I felt singled out absolutely. There were people walking around. Even the team wasn't on the field yet, but you single me out of everyone, why?"