BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Bills fans chanted, held up signs and took a knee in front of New Era Field Sunday. Fans are joining San Francisco 49er’s Colin Kaepernick’s protest of racial inequality and oppression in America.
Over 50 Bills fans knelt silently with fists raised in the air during the playing of the national anthem. Protesters say it’s a reminder to the community and the country that Buffalo is still a “deeply racist city.”
“It was surreal, I think it was something, for Buffalo at this particular point in time, something that we need. There’s a lot of social justice issues going on in Buffalo. Buffalo is making a comeback, but a lot of people aren’t really feeling that comeback,” said Lonnie Barlow, Bills fan and protester.
Bills fans also called on Rex Ryan to withdraw his support for Donald Trump as protesters consider him a racist.
“Rex Ryan can speak as Rex Ryan as a person, but not as his platform as the coach of the Buffalo Bills to be speaking on the values that our community uphold,” said Shaketa Redden, community organizer.
Supporters of the protest say protesting is a patriotic right, but opponents question the patriotism of this movement.
“The national anthem has nothing to do with the first amendment rights it has everything to do with military and what the military has fought for. I fought in two wars and I fought for that national anthem and that flag and I really believe in what I fought for,” said Bob Dominik, Bills fan and U.S. veteran.
The Bills won Sunday’s game over the 49ers 45-16.