The most ridiculous overreactions to NFL players’ peaceful protests

They're straight-up burning money at this point.

Buffalo Bills players take a knee during the national anthem prior to their game against the Denver Broncos in Orchard Park, N.Y. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File
Buffalo Bills players take a knee during the national anthem prior to their game against the Denver Broncos in Orchard Park, N.Y. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File

NFL players across the country knelt for the national anthem before games over the weekend, or stayed off the field entirely, in response to President Donald Trump’s tirade attacking athletes like Colin Kaepernick at a rally in Alabama.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired. He’s fired!’” Trump told the crowd.

Last year, Kaepernick, who was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and the persistence of racial inequality in the United States. Since then, Kaepernick has been essentially frozen out of the league, and it’s widely accepted he is not currently playing because of his protest.

Trump has tweeted about the protests more than a dozen times since Friday.

Trump, as well as many lawmakers, corporations, and fans, have positively panicked about the protests. Trump and his allies have called for boycotting the league altogether. Some fans have burnt their season tickets, and some brands are offering refunds for fans who are upset by the protests.

Here are some of the most egregious overreactions:


ABC shared a video Tuesday of fans burning season tickets and team paraphernalia, protesting the protests.

A number of bar and restaurant owners have also taken to social media to explain that they will no longer air NFL games as long as players protest during the national anthem.


“NFL will never be played at Palmetto Alehouse until all players pay respect to our flag and to our country!” one South Carolina bar owner declared.

The owner of Louisiana’s WOW cafe has taken a similar stance, writing on Facebook, “I apologize to all of our guests but we will not be viewing the Saints game today in house. Some of our local players chose to sit during the National Anthem, which will not be supported or praised at WOW.”

One man who works at the stadium where the Buffalo Bills play quit his job after several Bills players protested during the anthem.


Judd Matheny, a Tennessee House member who is currently running for Congress, said on Facebook that the Tennessee Titans “disgraced us.”


“I am going to introduce legislation this week to ban our state government from participating in any further direct or indirect ventures with sports teams until this epidemic is squarely broken. I will do the same on the federal level,” Matheny wrote. “Time to stand up!”

Mike Regan, a Pennsylvania State Senator, announced he was drafting a resolution to condemn the protests, and a fire chief in the state called the Steelers coach the n-word after the Steelers chose to stay in the locker room during the national anthem. (Despite the fact that the Steelers said they chose to do so to avoid controversy.)

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, the state’s elected official in charge of overseeing tourism, said Tuesday that he will be boycotting the Saints over the protests during the national anthem.

“I will not go to the game[s] because I am disappointed in the NFL,” Nungesser said in a phone interview Tuesday with the Times-Picayune. “I don’t want to get into the battle of the statement they are making or why they are kneeling. I think it is disgraceful that anybody would use that as a time to protest.”


The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that DirecTV will refund Sunday Ticket subscriptions for fans who are upset about players protesting during the anthem.


After U.S. women’s national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe joined Kaepernick in protest by kneeling during the national anthem last year, the U.S. Soccer Federation put in place a policy that required players to “stand respectfully” during the national anthem. ESPN reported Tuesday that the league is doubling down and will not change the policy in the wake of Trump’s remarks.


Several NASCAR owners have also said they would not tolerate protests during the national anthem by drivers or crew members, a move Trump applauded on Twitter.

This piece will be updated with any additional overreactions.