LINCOLNTON COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Football jerseys were burned in front of the North Carolina Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in protest to the NFL and players taking a knee Saturday morning.
The reaction to this video uploaded to Chip Chandler's Facebook page Saturday of him and other Lincolnton VFW members burning a Julius Peppers jersey and a Ben Roethlisberger jersey is one he wasn't expecting.
“We thought people in Lincolnton, a few friends. That’s all that would see it and it went a whole lot further than that,” Chandler said.
Chandler says about 30 members of the local chapter were on hand during the making of the nearly three-minute video -- to make a protest of their own --- not to protest those players taking a knee --- but those players and teams that didn't come out of the locker room for the national anthem.
“We all fought for their right to do that. they can protest anyway they want but they come out and they still honor the national anthem but the ones who stayed in the locker room they didn’t.”
The polarizing issue the NFL has seen thus far hit close to home for Chandler and his chapter. They lost a purple heart veteran who did three tours and Vietnam and lost his life just two weeks ago, right in the thick of the NFL players protesting
“It hit even harder for us. All of our brothers and sisters here, Everyone of them has fought and even bled for this county we think it's disrespectful not to honor our national anthem. We just really believe that.”
And although reaction has been a bit overwhelming --- chandler says he doesn't' regret the decision to burn the jerseys.
“At one time any veteran they wrote a check. A blank check and was for their life, some of them were cashed.”