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Veterans Club bans NFL broadcasts

The Cooperstown Crier - 10/12/2017

The Cooperstown Veterans Club has banned NFL broadcasts in its club, a decision made by a unanimous vote of its corporation board, according to president David Sanford.

The commander and members of the VFW post and American Legion had talked about NFL players taking a knee or sitting in protest during the national anthem last month and decided to have a vote on a ban, Sanford said.

"I think it's kind of obvious why, the NFL doesn't respect the American flag or the United States," Sanford said. He said he thought the players' demonstrations were particularly disrespectful to veterans.

NFL players on several teams across the league took a knee, linked arms or raised a fist for the third consecutive Sunday during the national anthem this week after President Donald Trump suggested in a Sept. 22 speech that NFL teams should fire players who protest during the anthem.

A CBS news poll this month suggested that most Americans think athletes shouldn't protest during the national anthem, but there is wide variation in attitudes. Views hinged on age, race, partisanship and the perceived intention of the players. Most Americans believed the players' intention is to call attention to racism, but Republicans also felt they were trying to disrespect the flag and military, too.

A Washington Post survey found that 54 percent of young people support protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem compared to 38 percent of Americans in general.

Six in ten Republicans feel the flag and anthem mean loyalty to the government, according to the CBS poll, while Democrats were less likely to say so.

Sanford said that no form of protest was appropriate during the national anthem.

"I was taught in elementary school that when the national anthem is played you stand up and put your hand over your heart, and you didn't have a choice in the matter," he said.

Sanford said the club will show NFL games again when players show respect for the flag and anthem.

Len Carson, president of the Oneonta Veterans Club and commander of the American Legion, declined to take a position on the issue.

"We did discuss what Cooperstown is doing and aren't taking a stance at this time," Carson said.

Erin Jerome, staff writer, may be reached at ejerome@thedailystar.com or 441-7221. Follow her at @DS_ErinJ on Twitter.


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