POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – In response to players taking a knee in protest during the National Anthem, people took a stand against the NFL Sunday afternoon at the American Legion Post in Poland by burning their NFL gear.
Many in attendance were military veterans or people who come from military families. They feel that kneeling is disrespectful for the men and women who are fighting or have fought to protect our freedoms.
“I’ve been tired of seeing what the NFL is doing over the past year, really,” protester Dan Madden said.
Madden’s father served in the Army.
He’s a big sports fan, but out of respect for his father and all veterans, he tossed his Cleveland Brown’s jersey into a fire.
“To see people disrespect the flag that people fought and died for — and my dad was severely injured — is just a disgrace for people making that kind of money,” Madden said.
By burning their NFL gear, the people are hoping it sends a clear message to the National Football League.
“I can’t support somebody that doesn’t support my anthem and my flag,” Donna McConnell of New Middletown said.
“[The American Flag] not only stands for the first 13 colonies, but it also stands for the blood that was shed by our veterans,” Air Force veteran Paul Yannucci said. “People need to understand that.”
“This flag is a symbol,” Holly Niotti-Soltesz, a Navy veteran, said. “It represents you, it represents me — it represents all of us, not some of us.”
Sunday’s ceremony didn’t just honor military veterans, but emergency responders who serve their communities each and every day too.