GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A nationwide debate is brewing after some NFL players chose to kneel in protest while the national anthem played before games on Sunday.
The debate is reaching beyond the football field and into the lives of everyday Americans. WFMY News 2 wanted to hear the Triad's take on this controversial issue.
WFMY News 2 Reporter, Jessica Mensch, spent much of Monday at LeBauer Park in Greensboro talking with people passing by.
We held a sign that read, 'Why do you support/not support protesting during the national anthem?'
People around the park had a large array of opinions.
"As an Air Force Academy Grad and as a veteran of the Air Force, we fight for freedom. And I believe in their right for free speech," Ray Weathersby explained.
However, despite his support, Weathersby said he would not choose to kneel.
"I personally will always stand for the national anthem. For what our country represents, what the flag represents in support of our country," he said. "But I empathize and have understanding with why they are kneeling. It's to raise awareness about the social and racial injustices that really exist in our country."
Elizabeth Fain was enjoying a day at the park with her kids, but was happy to share her views on the matter.
"I think it's horrible what they are doing choosing to kneel. To me it's saying, 'I don't like our country.' It's disrespectful," Fain said. "It's disrespectful to the military and to the people who have given their lives or are giving their lives right now."
Nazeema Watkins stopped for a look at our sign and shared her opinion in support of the protests.
"I would kneel. I would be with the people that say that not everybody has freedom here," Watkins said. 'I'm Muslim and people come up and say hateful things to me. And I actually was born here. I think those people that have been kneeling are brave."
David Philpott said he saw the players actions as a sign of disrespect.
"I feel disappointed that players choose not to stand. The national anthem is something that all Americans should take with high regard. I don't think it's the right platform to use," he said.
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