Friday, September 15, 2017

VFW Turns Off NFL Football in Protest of Protests

Members of the Strongsville, Ohio, VFW feel the same way Sallisaw VFW members do,
 and put up the above sign after a Cleveland Browns football game

Members of the Waylon Staffan Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4518 in Sallisaw voted and then drafted the following statement regarding showing NFL game:

“Until further notice: NFL games will not be shown at the Sallisaw VFW do to the political nature of a few games.

The very nature of who we are as a Post of Combat Veterans that disrespecting this country, in any manor, is very personal. The emotions we have for our country runs deep. The NFL by allowing their business to personally and emotionally affect our deep love of this country cannot and will not be supported by this Post. This is not a financial or business issue to us.

Our Post members did fight for the right for everyone to protest in any lawful manor they choose. With that being said, we do not have to watch those that protest or support the businesses that we feel is disrespecting our country. We watched the NFL for the love of the game, not for political statements.

Not everyone agrees with our stance but we voted and if you feel you need to stay home or go elsewhere to watch the game we respect your right to do so."

Signed by Quarter Master

Charlie Brown is the Quartermaster at the VFW post north of Sallisaw on U.S. Highway 59. The VFW members are joining a nationwide discussion about whether or not NFL football players should let their protest opinions be illustrated by kneeling or other physical protests while the National Anthem is played or the flag flown at the beginning of every football game.

The protesting began last year when Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, refused to stand during the National Anthem. He said he was protesting police brutality and racial inequality. Kaepernick no longer has a job.

But with neo-Nazi and white supremacist rallies growing, and the attention drawn by a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., the NFL players’ responding protests increased, especially with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns staged the largest group protest to date, with about 10 players demonstrating.

Brown said the VFW veterans support the right of the football players to protest.

“We fought for their rights, but we don’t have to watch it,” Brown said.

Brown, a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard, emphasized, “I am only speaking for our VFW.”

Brown said the VFW members see the protests during the National Anthem or during the presentation of the flag as disrespectful to the nation and the men and women who fought to protect it.

“It’s an emotional issue for us, it’s not a political issue. But politics have come into it. It’s a game!” Brown argued.

Brown said the members of the military, when deployed, often turn to sports, especially football, to bring them closer to home.

“We wanted to enjoy the game, the banter and the camaraderie that went with it. We don’t want politics in it.”

Brown said the players have the right to protest, but such protests should be kept off the football field and out of the game.

“It should be kept out of the business place,” he said. “We look at it as disrespectful of our community and our service.”

Brown is disappointed the protests are becoming a national issue, which has led to the response by veterans.

“The VFW, we,” he said, “are here to promote and support patriotism. There comes a point when you have to say something.”

And that is an opinion shared by the protesting football players. One player, Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks, plans to sit out the National Anthem for the entire football season after he was accosted by a Las Vegas police officer. Bennett said the incident was racially motivated. That incident is under investigation.

On the other hand, many Cleveland Browns stood arm-in-arm with police officers, showing their support. Many players told the national media they believe the protesting is done, or dwindling. Others hope it continues.

“We support their right to protest, but we don’t have to watch it,” Brown concluded.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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