LADY LAKE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Leaders at the Lady Lake American Legion Post 347 are turning off the NFL amid the National Anthem kneeling controversy.
Every single TV at the post now has a sign at the bottom saying “No NFL Football Games on Post Televisions.” The electronic sign in front of the building also has the warning, also sporting the message “We Stand for Our Flag.”
"There was a lot of thought that had to go into it,” said Post Commander Al Varrone.
Varrone said the topic came up at the beginning of the season during a board meeting; as national attention drew to the NFL pregame protests happening across the league.
For leaders at the post, Varrone said it comes down to the breach of flag etiquette which the Legion helped to develop. He said they felt it would be hypocritical if they didn’t take up the topic at the post.
So Varrone posed the question to members and found that the vast majority weighing in also disagreed with the players choosing to kneel during the anthem.
"We had well over 100 people at our general membership meeting and it was almost a unanimous vote,” he said.
So the post has refused to put any NFL games on their TVs all season.
Varrone said most of their members have been supportive, but that doesn’t mean their counter-protest has been easy.
"We took well over a thousand dollar hit that first week,” said Varrone.
A trend, leaders said, has continued week-to-week with Sundays going from one of their busiest days to now a struggle most weeks.
Post 347 has the largest membership of any American Legion Post in the world and, like other posts, their profits go to helping veterans.
The hit from not getting a football crowd is forcing Varrone and his fellow leaders to find other ways to bring in money on those days, but he says they won’t stop their protest.
"We plan to keep doing it until something changes,” he said.