Tampa Bay residents react strongly to actions of NFL players

Posted at 6:08 PM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 18:08:58-04

Matt Field took a picture that clearly expresses his feelings.

"I took all my Bucs gear to the curb and took my Mike Evans jersey and put a big slash through it," said Field.

His loyalty to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a proud season holder for nearly 20 years ended Sunday.

"I am done with the Bucs and the NFL," said Field.

He's forfeiting thousands. He told Action News it is a small price to pay to show his disdain over the actions of NFL players

"I think this is shenanigans," said Field.

All 28 teams playing Sunday, protested the national anthem in some fashion. Two Buccaneer players set themselves apart from the team. Wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans both kneeled.

"It's worth it to me. I probably lost two thousand for this season. It's my protest to hit them in the pocketbook," said Field.

Over at Heads and Tails, a sports retail store and Tampa staple for nearly a quarter of a century. The owner can't determine  yet if the players action will affect the bottom line. They are staying neutral.

But emotions are running high. Most customers chose not to speak. The few that did not shy away  from strong words

"I am not a fan of it at all, I think the guys need to stand up and salute the flag," said Ted Schrutt.

Schrutt does plan on going to the game Sunday.

"But, I will see how it plays out during the next few weeks. I am not sure if I can be supportive if this continues to happen."

Dale Wellhofer who owns framing shop Mona Lisa next door is very upset.

"I think the whole thing is disgusting," she said. "I think if they do not stand they should be told to take the bench. Let's see how they f eel if it affects their pocketbooks."

But others, like college student Justin Gaskew feel it's the players right.

"The should be able to voice their opinions," said Gaskew.

Gaskew also said they are in a unique position. A players celebrity can set the momentum of a society and stop injustices.

This all started last year when when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled to protest racial inequality

"They have the biggest impact and they have the platform to influence alot of people around the world," said Gaskew.

But, recent charged comments by President Trump denouncing the actions reignited the debate. And some like Field feel the football field is not the place to settle it .

"It's their profession. Their protesting should be done on their personal time," said Field.