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Tuesday, September 15, 2020 @ 12:09 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

AP_17340119631962OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) club in Oil City has announced that professional sports will no longer be airing at the club.

(Photo: In this Oct. 2, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, left, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, center, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before the team’s NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File.)

It has been four years since former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee to protest police brutality and systemic racism, and the issue of professional athletes protesting has continued to grow.

Following widespread protests this summer, athletes in every major American sport have become more vocal on social issues, often protesting during the anthem, wearing gear supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and even sitting out events.

However, the increase in protests does not sit well everywhere. As protests increase, so do instances of organizations choosing not to air sporting events due to the ongoing issue. The VFW club in Oil City made their announcement on Friday.

Screen Shot 2020-09-15 at 9.19.14 AM

The announcement garnered some support.

“All of those Sports have turned in to nothing more than an anti-American non patriotic group of crybabies,” Jennifer Perry Hess stated.

“You have my support,” Nathan Mercer said.

However, it also received some negative comments.

“Might as well just close the doors now. It was a good run but this club is gonna be dead very soon,” Shaun Winger stated.

“For all that it matters, I respectfully disagree on the sports stance and on the smoking everywhere,” Judy Barrett said. reached out to the Clarion VFW to see if a similar change might be in consideration there.

“I haven’t heard anything about it,” manager Dave Dunkle said.

“We’ll let whoever watch whatever they want.”

The Oil City VFW is far from the only venue making changes due to the ongoing protests. A bar in Oklahoma recently made a similar announcement and statistics show ratings for the broadcast of NFL games are sinking significantly.

Looking deeper into the issues at play, different sources have found differing levels of support for the ongoing protests.

According to a recent poll by the Washington Post, a majority of Americans say they believe it is acceptable for professional athletes to kneel during the national anthem, and an even larger percentage believe athletes should use their platforms to tackle social issues.

However, a recent Gallup poll shows an entirely different trend.

The Gallup poll found Americans who have a positive view of sports dropped from 45 percent positive in August 2019 to 30 percent last month.

“This slide in the sports industry’s image comes as professional, and college leagues are struggling, and not always successfully, to maintain regular schedules and playing seasons amid the pandemic. Professional football, baseball, and basketball games have also become focal points for public displays of support for the Black Lives Matter movement,” the Gallup analysis states.

“While it’s not clear how much the various challenges and controversies swirling around the industry are each responsible for its slide in popularity, it is notable that sports has lost more support from Republicans and independents than from Democrats. In fact, Democrats’ view of the sports industry has not changed significantly in the past year, while Republicans’ has slipped from a +11 net-positive score in 2019 to a net -35 today, and independents’ from +26 to -10.”

Overall, between ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and the shifting of public opinion, it is hard to say what lies ahead in the world of professional sports.

Calls to the Oil City VFW were not immediately returned.

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