KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Controversy surrounding NFL National anthem protests has been reignited following comments made by President Donald Trump in a speech in Alabama on Friday. During the address Trump criticized players who choose to sit during the national anthem, urged owners to fire players who do and encouraged fans who are offended by it to walk out of stadiums. Those comments have sparked reaction from NFL owners, players and many other professional athletes. On the following Sunday afternoon during the early games more than 100 players sat, knelt or raised a fist in defiance.
Many people watching these games in the metro area took notice.
“I think they need to get their butts up. If it wasn't for our servicemen out there fighting for us and them, they wouldn't have the right to be out on that field right now,” said Chiefs fan Chris Kauffman.
Her husband, Randy, is a former servicemember.
“I enjoyed the time in the military and did what I had to do so. I think everyone else should really respect that,” said Randy Kauffman.
“It disturbs me, but I also understand why some of the people are doing it, but I think they're doing it the wrong way,” he explained.
Former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Collin Kapernick started kneeling during the national anthem during last year's football season to protest racial oppression and inequality in the U.S. Since then, players on several teams have joined in making this political statement.
“There is other ways you can go about getting your opinion voiced, and I think they need to look at those avenues. I heard earlier they were talking about having conversations, meeting with towns and stuff like that, and that's great,” said Randy.
“I'm not necessarily offended. I would prefer to watch football to see a football game, not to see political opinions,” said Chief’s Fan Ryan Richter.
Some feel the attention these protests are getting could affect ratings.
“When the ratings come out, fans will ultimately decide whether this is an issue, whether they want politics injected into football or not,” Richter added.
Nielsen data shows Sunday night and Monday night football ratings for the first two weeks of this NFL season have taken a dip in viewership compared to last year. Analysts say some of that could be due to recent hurricanes. Check for the latest NFL viewership numbers.