Millions of people will gather next Sunday to watch the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots play in Super Bowl LII. But don't count Brandon Patrick in for your viewing party.
The Whiteville business owner says he's boycotting the Super Bowl in protest of players who knelt during the National Anthem this past NFL season. Instead, Patrick posted to Facebook on Tuesday that he'll spend the day cleaning veterans' graves.
"The NFL's protesting and it's not doing anything productive for our country or our veterans, or our flag or our national anthem or anything," he told TV station WECT. "So we're going to protest and do something productive with it."
Patrick owns Pro 1 Services LLC, a gutter cleaning company in Whiteville, about 150 miles southeast of Charlotte. In his original post, he wrote about being disappointed after it was reported that the NFL rejected an ad from a veterans group from appearing in its Super Bowl program.
The ad had the message "Please Stand," and the group American Veterans declined to change the message for the program, which the NFL has editorial control over, the Associated Press reported.
Patrick said the NFL's decision sparked his idea to clean veterans' graves throughout the entirety of the game.
"this is for our Veterans we love you guys," he wrote in a Facebook post thanking veterans for their service, with hashtags such as "#lovemycountry", "#standfortheanthem" and "#orgetoutourcountry".
The kneeling issue stems to 2016 when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sat, then knelt during the National Anthem. Kaepernick's protest was aimed at shining light on police brutality and racial inequality.
The protests sparked controversy and made a return in September, when President Donald Trump called on the removal of any NFL player who kneels during the National Anthem. Trump said such players are a "son of a bitch," and his comments led to league-wide anthem kneeling during week three of the NFL season.
LaVendrick Smith: 704-358-5101 ___
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