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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Ohio VFW pulls plug on Browns games over players' anthem protest

An Ohio VFW post is taking a stand after several Cleveland Browns players took a knee during the national anthem before a game Monday night.

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (WKYC) - Sunday afternoons are going to be a little quieter at an Ohio VFW post in response to NFL players protesting during the national anthem.

VFW 3345 in Strongsville, Ohio posted a sign outside announcing they will not show Cleveland Browns games after more than a dozen players took a knee during the anthem before Monday night's preseason game against the New York Giants.

"We like our Browns - we love our flag more," the sign reads. "Your games will no longer be shown here. God bless America."

A photo of the sign has gone viral on Facebook, shared more than 2,000 times since it was posted just before noon Thursday.

"For us, it doesn't sit real well," Tim Zvoncheck, the commander of VFW Post 3345, told WKYC. "We understand that everybody has the right to free speech. Everybody has a right to their specific feelings. But we don't feel they have the right to disrespect... we're not going to stand for this anymore."

Zvoncheck, who served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve from 1983-1997, said he respects the players' right to protest, but does not appreciate the manner in which they choose to do it.

"We fought for the rights of everybody in this country. We joined the military to fight for the freedom of speech and the right to bear arms. We respect that. But it has to be in a manner that we feel is respectful to us as well," he said.

Other outraged fans are calling for a much wider boycott.

"Love the sign...Now lets not patronize (any) of the Browns sponsors," wrote Gay Clements Puchmajer.

Of course, the decision may seem like an easy one, with the Browns coming off a woeful 1-15 season, but for legions of Browns fans, watching the team is about more than wins and losses, something Zvoncheck realizes, telling WKYC the post could cost itself some money by pulling the plug.

"We're okay with that, because the membership supports it," he said.

Zvoncheck says the Browns will stay off the post's TVs until the team formally apologizes for the players' protest.

"They're going to have to show us that they respect this country and what that flag stands for," he said.

Strongsville is located about 20 miles south of Cleveland.