NFL protests stirring emotions in Colorado Springs - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

NFL protests stirring emotions in Colorado Springs

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When dozens of NFL players took a knee and linked arms during Sunday football games- it brought up a lot of feelings from protests about a year ago. 

President Donald Trump brought up the athlete's decision at an event in Alabama last week where he said "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say 'Get that son of a bitch off the field out right now! He's fired! He's fired!"

Come Sunday, just about every game on television showed athletes kneeling or linking arms. 

For people in southern Colorado, it's bringing up strong emotions on both sides. 

"It's absolutely about Black Lives Matter and it's about using the platform that they have to take a stand for something," said Christi Nickey. 

Nickey moved to Colorado Springs a couple of years ago from South Carolina- a decision she says was based on the racially charged culture. 

"I have a 5 year old who is mixed (race)," said Nickey who believes the protest is a positive example for her children. 

"I feel like it's a great example, how often in our present time do we get to see a really shining example of a peaceful protest?" said Nickey.

On the other side of the aisle, in a military dominant community- several veterans feel differently. 

For Joe Carlson, he wants to see it stop, "Is that the objection to insult and incite? I hope not but , I take it that way."

Carlson served in the Vietnam war and is a Post Commander for a local VFW post. 

"I fought for right to free speech too but not for you to call fire in an auditorium," said Carlson.

The veteran is a father of 8, he says it's not something he wants his kids to look up to. 

"We want to raise them up right in the way that they should act."

Many people are also joining sides with Carlson- several people online have threatened to boycott the NFL, Carlson even considering no longer investing in a sponsor of the league. 

"I own stock in Ford, Ford I tell you I think I'm probably gonna sell my stock," said Carlson, "you're supporting inappropriate behavior."

The National VFW commander responded to the actions by the NFL, in a statement he said the following.

The national commander of America’s largest and oldest major combat veterans organization is raising his voice in opposition to those who disrespect the flag.

“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,” said Keith Harman, a Vietnam combat veteran who leads the 1.7 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliary.

“My oath to protect the Constitution also protects my right to vehemently disagree with how others may choose to air their grievances,” said Harman, who said those who disrespect what most Americans hold dear have forgotten that America is still in a 16-year, multi-front war, against a shadow enemy whose end goal is the total destruction of us as a people and country.

The VFW national commander is saluting former Army Ranger and now Pittsburgh Steeler offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva for showing the rest of his team and the league what true mettle is, and NASCAR team owners Richard Petty and Richard Childress for leading from the front.

“I stand for our flag and anthem,” he said, “and I kneel for our fallen. That’s what patriots do. We rally around the flag of our country, not use it and our Constitution as both shield and sword.”


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