Lockport VFW refuses to show NFL games in wake of kneeling protests

LOCKPORT, Ill. (WLS) -- Outrage over NFL players protesting police brutality and systemic racism during the national anthem has spurred action at a suburban VFW.

The VFW commander in southwest suburban Lockport is refusing to show NFL games now, including the Bears' game Thursday night.

VFW Post 5788 is a popular spot to watch football on Sundays, but as NFL players took a knee and locked arms many there were outraged. Among them was World War II veteran Jack Lonergan.

"It was appalling to watch the disrespect for our flag and for our nation," he said.

On Monday leaders of the post decided NFL games will no longer be shown there.

"I hope they learn a lesson. I hope it hurts them. I hope it hurts them right in the pocketbook. I really do," said E.J. Errico, commander of Lockport VFW Post 5788.

Wednesday President Donald Trump doubled down on the issue.

"The NFL has to change, or you know what's going to happen to their business is going to go to hell," Trump said.

Ticket broker Steve Buzil said he is seeing an impact; since Sunday, ticket prices on the secondary market have plummeted.

"They're probably 30, 40 percent off in gross sales. And people that bought tickets are returning the tickets. They don't want them," Buzil said.

The issue continues to transcend sports. Days after two Chicago police officers were reprimanded for kneeling in a photo with a community activist, another Chicago police officer took a picture in uniform with the flag. CPD said he will face the same discipline as the other officers. CPD regulations prohibit officers from making political statements while in uniform.

But what would it take for the VFW to start showing football games again?

"I'd like to see some of the players fired," Errico said.

Leaders at the VFW post said they've been receiving calls of support. They're now asking other VFW posts to follow their lead.
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