In response to the New England Patriots who took a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustice before their game against the Houston Texans on Sunday, a large group of Patriots fans met for a "peaceful protest" on Thursday to burn team jerseys and other paraphernalia.
"I don't want to hear anything about Donald Trump," the rally's organizer Mark Shane told WCVB. "I don't want to hear anything about Democrats, I don't want to hear anything about Republicans. The one thing that unites us is country and national anthem."
Shane reportedly burned a Patriots Super Bowl jersey and T-shirt, but most of the merchandise brought to the rally was put in boxes to be donated after the group was informed the event could be illegal by the town's fire chief. Shane later urged everyone to boycott future NFL games and to avoid buying new merchandise, according to WCVB.
"There's a way to protest social justice and it's not by disrespecting the National Anthem," Shane told The Herald News.
Many NFL fans – including those of the Patriots – decided to boo players who took a knee during the national anthem over the weekend. Then there was Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who had the highest-selling gear over a 24-hour-period after he was seen standing outside the tunnel during the national anthem while the rest of his team stayed inside. Villanueva has since said he was "embarrassed to a degree" by the picture of him standing by himself and that he didn't plan to boycott the team's plan.
A number of NFL teams are now planning to stand for the national anthem during this weekend's games. Most players from both the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears stood and linked arms prior to their game on Thursday and Drew Brees said the New Orleans Saints will "kneel in solidarity" prior to the national anthem and stand during it on Sunday. The Denver Broncos will also stand before they take on the Oakland Raiders.