Iowans weigh in on NFL protests - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans weigh in on NFL protests

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WEST BRANCH (KWWL) -

Over the weekend, images of some NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem became more and more common. The protests have become a heavily-divided topic nationally.

Friday night, the increase in protests was sparked after a comment President Donald Trump made at an Alabama rally.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say 'Get that son of a b----- off the field out right now, he's fired!" Trump said.

Several players, coaches, and owners kneeling, linking arms, or sitting during the National Anthem on Sunday. A few teams even stayed in the locker room.  On Monday night, the Dallas Cowboys taking a knee as a team, prior to the National Anthem.

While the topic is a divided one nationally, that's not quite the story for one small Iowa community.

In West Branch on Monday, a JV game was held between the West Branch Bears and the Bellevue Comets. Though that game isn't in the national limelight, fans there seemed to have similar opinions on what they've been seeing on television.

"They should realize that they do have the freedom to express their beliefs, but I think there's a better place for it," Todd Giesemann, of Bellevue, said.

For Laura Cook, of West Branch, she said the protests are disrespectful to the military.

"It's heartbreaking to me. I'm proud to live in this great country, and they just don't have a full appreciation for being here," Cook said.

Others worry about the impact the NFL players will have on young football players.

"They look at these NFL guys and they're their heroes, and they want to do what they want to do," Randy Robertson, West Branch, said.

Robertson, who attends many of the high school football games, said he hasn't seen any players kneel, and he said he doesn't expect to in the future either.

"I think small communities, like West Branch, they're very good people and, if you interviewed all of these people, I think 99% of them would be in favor that they need to stand for that National Anthem," he said.

As for President Trump's comments about firing the players that partake in the protests, that's not something many of the people at the game agreed with.

"Obviously, the owner and coaches take care of that stuff, and that's none of the President's business," Gisemann said.

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