Protesting NFL players are adamant that they are not disrespecting the military, but American veterans don’t agree.
An American Legion post in Maryland will be hosting a barbecue this Sunday, corresponding with the NFL’s afternoon kickoff. However, the veterans will not be tuning in to the games, and they will not be cooking burgers and hotdogs. Instead, they will be barbecuing NFL jerseys, according to Todd Starnes.
A member of the Maryland American Legion post called into Todd Starnes’s radio show to extend an invitation to the public, asking supporters to drop by and burn any NFL jerseys or memorabilia they no longer want.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick spurred a series of protests in response to supposed police brutality against black Americans at the start of the 2016 season. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick explained to NFL Media in August 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Yet, as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed out, if players wanted to protest police, there are plenty present on the sidelines of every NFL game. “I think if the debate is really, for them, about police brutality, they should probably protest the officers on the field that are protecting them instead of the American flag,” she told reporters.
Apparently, the White House is not the only organization receiving mixed messages from the national anthem protests. Despite claims that the players are protesting police brutality, and not the nation as a whole or our military, many veterans disagree.
The Legion post in Maryland is not the only veterans group outraged over the arrogance of NFL players. Videos on YouTube document dozens of veterans and other fans burning NFL season tickets, jerseys, and memorabilia.
Additionally, both The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) groups are criticizing the NFL for allowing protesters to kneel during the national anthem.
“There is a time and place for civil debate, and wearing team jerseys and using sporting events to disrespect our country doesn’t wash with millions of military veterans who have and continue to wear real uniforms on real battlefields around the globe,” explained Keith Harman, national commander of the VFW and Vietnam veteran, reported The Daily Caller.
American Legion post set to barbecue NFL jerseys. Would you burn yours?
Denise H. Rohan, the national commander of the American Legion, echoed the sentiments of the VFW, calling players kneeling during the national anthem “misguided and ungrateful.”
“The American Legion is one of the original architects of the US Flag Code,” she said, adding, “That code was produced by 69 patriotic, fraternal, civic and military organizations in 1923. It included members of all political parties, big labor, industry and minorities. The code calls on all present to stand at attention while the anthem is played. It wasn’t political when it was written, and it shouldn’t be political today.”
The Maryland American Legion post is hoping that their large bonfire will send a strong message to these professional athlete protestors.