Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey condemned the Mississippi state flag this week. He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last — unless a significant change is made — but he attaches an important, influential voice to the stance.

Sankey proceeded to state the following: “It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi. Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all.”

Sankey doesn’t want to see Mississippi’s current flag flying at any SEC championship events. He said there will be consideration of precluding such events in the state, which features two SEC universities — Mississippi (Ole Miss) and Mississippi State.

Mississippi’s state flag — specifically the upper left portion of it — has come into focus once again.

In 1894, the Confederate battle flag became part of Mississippi’s fabric symbol.

Although in 1906 state legislature repealed laws that created the new flag, it continued to fly for 95 years as the unofficial state flag. In 2001, it was officially readopted by voters.

If part of what the American flag represents is the unity of the 50 states, one may ask this: Why do states even have flags?

Each state flag has red, white and/or blue in it, so it does show inclusiveness. However, are they necessary? We are inclined to think they are, mainly because it shows that each state is sovereign, having its own government.

Why do state flags fly at sporting events? Perhaps the best solution to this problem, if Mississippi elects to keep the contents of its flag intact, is to simply fly a U.S. flag and a flag representing the university at athletic venues.

Wipe out state flags at sporting events. Just display the symbols of the school.

That doesn’t mean, for instance, that “My Old Kentucky Home” won’t be sung or played at University of Kentucky football and basketball games. It just means the state flag won’t be displayed. Who truly pays attention to the state flag during these athletic events anyway? Honestly, is that something that will be missed?

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