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Chattanooga veteran and former UTC football coach weigh in on debate over national anthem

Buddy Nix says stands with those who see the protests as as a sign of disrespect. (Image: WTVC)

The NFL's Week 3 left the country divided, and not over Fantasy Football standings.

On Sunday and Monday night, more than 200 NFL players, coaches, and owners sat, knelt, locked arms, or stayed in the locker room as the star spangled banner echoed through stadiums across the league.

The movement has its roots in last season when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, sat on the bench during the national anthem.

Kaepernick said the demonstration was meant to bring awareness to police brutality.

"It was about time that someone in the public eye did that," Chattanooga activist and veteran Jonathan Hubbard told NewsChannel 9.

Despite not being picked up during free agency, Kaepernick's silent protest persisted by way of a few players across the league.

President Trump responded to the movement at a rally in Alabama on Friday asking the crowd, "wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a _____ off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’"

Those comments fired up Trump's base and re-energized the "Take A Knee" movement.

"It's bittersweet," Hubbard said of the mass protests, "I wish it took a little less than somebody calling you out saying, 'Hey, we pay you to do this. Be grateful,' because that's in essence what they took a knee for."

Former UTC football coach and General Manager of the Buffalo Bills Buddy Nix agrees with Hubbard to an extent, "[the players have] lost sight of what Kaepernick was protesting in the beginning. Now it's something else, now it's what the president said."

Nix stands with those who see the protests as as a sign of disrespect, "I believe firmly in standing for the national anthem and being respectful to the flag in this country. I don't think there's any excuse for not doing that."

As a veteran, Hubbard applauds the NFL players, coaches, and owners taking a stand.

"I won't claim to speak for all veterans and say it's not patriotic," Hubbard said, "but I definitely think that any veteran thinking that this is unpatriotic, a slap in the face, you need to ask yourself why are you fighting? What did you fight for? Are you fighting for flags or are you fighting for material possessions or are you fighting for the precepts that the flag represents."

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