Some local veterans oppose NFL player protests

Veterans and others watching tonight's game at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club seemed satisfied with the level of respect the players showed during the national anthem.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - After a brief pre-anthem kneel down by the Dallas Cowboys, players and staff stood tall and solemn with arms linked during the National Anthem at the Monday Night Football Game in Arizona.

And that is the way many veterans and members of the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club in Grand Rapids think they should be.

Whatever the cause, they say kneeling or staying in the locker room during the pre-game anthem is disrespectful. Participation in the protests increased dramatically after President Trump called on owners to fire players who “disrespect the flag."

“Far as I’m concerned the President is right,” said Vietnam veteran and Legion member Fred Chambers. “If I was the owner I would fire every one of them. It is definitely disrespectful.”

“It’s not the place and not the time,” added Legion member Paul Piersma. “People are turning off football. I know I have turned off football, and it is going to hurt the sport.”

Some also wondered if it was appropriate for players to protest while on the job. “I couldn’t protest while I was on the clock,” pointed out Piersma.

And others were uncertain what exactly the players are protesting. 

“I don’t like it at all,” says Chambers. “I served 25 years in the service. I served 3 years in Vietnam. They don’t realize if it weren’t for us veterans they wouldn’t be where they are right now.”

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