Dozens line Dale Mabry Hwy. with signs urging players to ‘play ball, and that’s all’

Man passing by beeped their horns supporting the protest, others voiced their support for players

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Another day of NFL football, another day of protest.

Sunday afternoon, dozens gathered holding signs and American flags urging professional football players to stand and show respect during the national anthem. Barbara Haselden organized the event along Dale Mabry Highway just south of Raymond James Stadium.

“We have a First Amendment right also, and that is to push back against this display of what I consider to be of just unpatriotic behavior,” said Haselden, who admits she considers the players to be role models for many children. “And especially, like my little grandson and everybody’s little grandson. They worship these fellows. And for them to be spreading this type of poison, because this does spill over like a plague, we’re already seeing signs of it. ”

Some driving by beeped their horns in support. One woman yelling, “My sons are in the military—stand up and be proud.”

Ron Rosser was also touched by the gathering. He understands the players do have rights, but is still bothered by the issue.

“I think they have the right to protest,” said Rosser. “But not during the national anthem. ”

Gwen Fleming disagrees with the protest against the protest. She feels the players have a point, and a right. “They should do whatever they need to do,” said Fleming. “Listen, it’s a free country. ”

Tavari Ware also sees the value in what the players are doing. “I think everybody has a right to express themselves, whatever way that they feel is necessary,” said Ware. “If that’s taking a knee or locking arms or kneeling before the anthem itself.”

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