BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – When Gene Cherry saw a number of NFL players taking a knee and locking arms during the national anthem, his heart sunk. He wondered, why this is happening? Why now?
The simple answer is a recent comment by the president outraged many players and prompted the protest.
Cherry, an insurance agency owner in Brandon, wanted to take a stand on the kneel. When he told one of his employees, Brandy Scott, he wanted to put something on the sign out front, she cringed.
“Because, I feel like a sitting target out there, putting that on the sign,” said Scott, who was tasked with changing the sign. “I did ask for a bullet-proof vest, though.”
What Cherry posted in front of his business was simple and to the point.
“If you can’t stand for the anthem, don’t call here,” Cherry read the sign to our camera.
But, the calls are coming in and people are stopping in. Everyone has been positive, Cherry claims.
“I’ve had women stop in here, walk in and say ‘hey, I love your sign,'” he said. “‘I don’t even buy insurance from you,’ but they do, they come in here.”
Cherry does believe in freedom of speech. In fact, some were displeased when he posted something about Hurricane Irma on his sign, and there was also a post about Tiger Woods, which he didn’t elaborate on.
He just feels the the line has been crossed. Passion and politics are now overshadowing patriotism on the professional ball field.
“This is America. You do have freedom. I want people to have freedom, but you gotta have respect,” said Cherry. “Without respect, we have nothing. ”
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