LOCKPORT – The VFW Post 5788 in Lockport will no longer be showing NFL games because of the protests by some players during the national anthem.
E.J. Errico, the post commander, said he made the announcement in the bar on Monday night to patrons that the bar will no longer put on the games as long as the protests take place.
The protests began last season with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting down and then taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African-Americans.
Since then, a few other players throughout the league have followed suit. After last week’s comments by President Donald Trump using an expletive to describe the protesters and saying they should be fired.
Those comments prompted numerous statements from owners denouncing Trump’s comments and even more players taking a knee before their games.
“That was disrespectful,” Errico said. “It’s a shame. It’s a slap in the face to all veterans.”
Errico served in the Navy for four years and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, a military operation to remove occupying Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991. He said when he made the announcement, the entire bar applauded and the VFW has received nothing but support.
He and the post’s quartermaster, Keith Carberry, agreed they would continue to not show the games until the NFL takes action to prevent the protests.
“If I disrespect my boss, I’d be fired,” Carberry said. “I think they should all be fired.”
They added that they would like to see the protesters make a six-month deployment away from their families. They said they also have heard from other nearby VFW posts who are considering doing the same thing.
Still, they said that they are not doing it based off of what Kaepernick’s original protest was about, which was police brutality against people of color, but they cannot support the NFL allowing it. They added they did not want to have politics interfere with their Sundays watching football.
“We’re doing it for the veterans,” Errico said.