For the last two NFL seasons, fans around the country have expressed their discontent over players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Fans feel that when players take a knee during the anthem, they’re disrespecting the military and the police force. President Trump has called for NFL team owners to get players back on their feet so they can respect the flag and the military once again.
But NFL players have failed to heed the president’s demand. And now other GOP lawmakers are stepping in to force NFL team’s hands at the local level.
If one Indiana lawmaker gets his unique legislation through this week, football fans who have felt betrayed as players knelt during the anthem could finally be vindicated – at least in Indiana. If the GOP gets their way, the Indianapolis Colts will need to refund fans their money.
When Republican Representative Milo Smith went to an Indianapolis Colt’s game back in September, he was appalled to see players dropping to the ground as the Star-Spangled Banner played in the stadium.
He said at the time that the players’ protest “didn’t sit right with me.”
And Rep. Smith has not forgotten that day in the months since he attended the game. And neither has most NFL fans around the country. Ticket sales have plummeted. Major sponsors have backed out of their commitments. And NFL teams have started practically giving tickets away for the price of pennies on the dollar.
Rep. Smith said: “To me when they take a knee during the national anthem, it’s not respecting the national anthem or our country. Our government isn’t perfect, but it’s still the best country in the world, and I think we need to be respectful of it.”
Rep. Smith said that his bill would not stop players from kneeling because that would be illegal. But it would require the Colts to refund fans who want their money back for feeling betrayed by the protest. The law would punish the NFL team for their players’ behavior. If players on the opposing team drop to their knees, the Colts would not be responsible. The refund only happens if Colts players kneel during the anthem.
Fans see this as an opportunity to see an NFL game for free because the Colts players have shown no sign of slowing down their protest.
This proposed change in the law comes after Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game when players of the opposing team took a knee during the national anthem. On that October 8th game, the Colts were playing the San Francisco 49ers, the very team where the protest started.
After he left the game, Pence tweeted, “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
Colts fans want their players back on their feet. And many Indianapolis locals believe that Rep. Smith’s new law will do just that.
The GOP hopes this proposal will light a fire under the NFL’s chair.