A VFW in the Cleveland area is taking a stand for the American flag in reaction to Browns players kneeling during the National Anthem. The protest by a dozen players took place on Monday’s game.
A sign posted outside the VFW Auxiliary Post shared with Fox News 8 read “We like our Browns – we love our flag more. Your games will no longer be shown here. God Bless America.” If the situation changes, however, the post is willing to give the Browns another chance.
“It has to change,” Tim Zvoncheck, commander at the post, said. “Too many of our brothers and sisters have died for that flag, in supporting that anthem, and this country.” He also said they “will not support any person, or any organization, that disrespects that.”
Just as the protesters believe they are standing upfor their cause, so does Zvoncheck believe he and others are doing. “If we don’t have the right to stand up for this, who does?” He clarified they “don’t respect them for their opinions, we disrespect them for how they handle it.”
Christian Kirksey, a linebacker for the team who kneeled, had said “Respect to all the veterans, respect to the military — we are not protesting against them. We have our reasons for doing what we did, and last night felt like the right time to do it, and that’s why we did it.”
Many, however, on both sides of the aisle, have taken to social media to express their views and concerns, and the protest they did feel.
The player’s actions also drew attention from Ohio State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, a Democrat, who had strong words, especially since he had served and his father and son did as well.
Congratulations Cleveland Browns on your win. Unfortunately my season ended last night. I will NEVER attend a sporting event where the draft dodging millionaire athletes disrespect the veterans who earned them the right to be on that field. Shame on you all. William O’Neill, LTC, US Army, Retired. Vietnam veteran; son of a World II veteran; proud father of an Iraq veteran.
The offense is felt not just by veterans and their families, but by police officers as well. Tiffany Miller was engaged to Justin Winebrenner, a police officer who was shot and killed. Her emotional Facebook post details how the Browns created a jersey for Winebrenner, who was a fan. Although she has attended several games and given Winebrenner’s seat to family members of his, she has a different feeling now:
After purchasing my tickets this year, watching the kneeling members of the team bring me anything but that. To the players & fans who don’t agree with standing for our country and anthem, I am creating this to show you just who you are offending. Had I not already purchased our seats for this season I wouldn’t have & if this behavior continues and is allowed I will not next year.
As with any such event to draw controversy, celebrities are reacting as well. George Foreman, a world heavyweight boxing champion, believes Colin Kaepernick, who began these protests last year, is a “great football player.” He also told TMZ that “there’s nothing wrong with a guy voicing his opinion,” and chalked his protest to his age, saying “when you’re young you gotta have an opinion. What’s the use of being young if you can’t protest?”
Foreman had also said during an interview with the Offended America podcast, that “a lot of us died in war so that [Kaepernick] could have that privilege” of protest, highlighting there free speech is not without consequence.