Videos uploaded to YouTube and other social media websites show fans burning NFL team memorabilia following on-field protests during the national anthem on Sunday, Sept. 24.
At least 100 players on different teams across the league on Sunday knelt or sat down during the national anthem. Some teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers (except for one player, Alejandro Villanueva), the Seattle Seahawks, and the Tennessee Titans stayed off the field during the national anthem.
The anthem protests were started last season when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during preseason games, drawing intense media scrutiny. Kaepernick and others said they’re protesting against police brutality and racism in the United States. But many critics have said that the protest shows disrespect to the national anthem and the United States itself.
In one viral video, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan—who said his name is Robert L. Williams, a master electrician from Texas, said he’s “done with the NFL.”
He took out “a $450 leather jacket” with the Steelers logo on the back. “Watch me burn it,” Williams stated. He also took out his hats and sweaters. “My great uncle’s bones are lying in the bottom of Pearl Harbor,” Williams added. “You do not disrespect the flag and the country, and the Constitution … and why we have our freedoms,” he said. “So, watch this stuff burn.”
And a Kansas City Chiefs fan who was “fed up” with the NFL anthem protests.
“I’m 60 years old and for 50 of those years, and in 50 years, I’ve never been ashamed to be a Chiefs fan until today,” the man said. “I’m ashamed that I’m even an NFL fan.”
“I have no problem with people—that’s their right. But this is a sporting event. This is an event that people and their families come to for fun—not to be told what political beliefs or what other people believe in should be forced upon them,” the man said.
He then turned the camera with his Chiefs gear. “Here’s how I feel about it … we’ve got a fire goin’ here … And we’re gonna burn all the rest of the Chiefs gear that I got in my home,” he stated.
“I vow not to spend another dime … on NFL gear, on the Chiefs, on the games. I’m not gonna watch the games,” he said.
“You’re nothing without your fans,” the man said, adding that he encourages other fans to burn their memorabilia and send videos of it to the teams.
Another fan burned his Baltimore Ravens memorabilia.
A New Orleans Saints fan also burned stuff.
“I’m done with football,” the woman said, adding that she will “light all my shirts on fire.”
“I’m just totally disgusted.”
A Steelers fan burned a jersey after “30 years of loving the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
“They have taken a great American sport that people use to forget there [sic] problems with and turned it into a political circus that disrespects our Country and our Military that gave there lives for your freedom,” the user stated.
Another fan burned a Minnesota Vikings jersey.