'Sheppard Challenge'

Old Glory waves on the back of a motorcyle rider's bike April 24 as participants prepared for a pro-flag rally in Valdosta.

As racial tensions, protests and conversations about patriotism continue to dominate the nation’s media outlets, a new flag-related challenge has gone viral via social media.

Being touted as the #EricSheppardChallenge, the trend involves stomping or walking on an American flag and then posting images or video of the act online.

The social media act shares its name with Valdosta State University student Eric Sheppard, a student protester who gained national attention when authorities said they found a gun in a backpack that he had left on campus following a brief encounter with police. Authorities obtained a warrant for his arrest and described him as being "armed and dangerous.”

During an initial protest last month, VSU was thrust into the national spotlight when former Air Force trainer and Playboy model Michele Manhart, was banned from campus after taking an American flag from a group of protesters led by Sheppard, who was seen walking on the flag.

After video of the incident involving Manhart went viral, Sheppard became a notable figure both locally and nationally, garnering attention, support and criticism from social media users nationwide.

While some post photos and videos of the challenge, others have adopted the same hashtag to post in opposition.

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