Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 5:35 AM
By: Kaitlyn Chana, ActionNewsJax.com
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man from Green Cove Springs, Florida, took his issues with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the NFL to the sky Sunday.
At 1,000 feet, you could read the statement on the plane-towed banner saying, “Be American. Boycott the Jags and the NFL.”
Terry Smiley had the message printed on a banner that was flown above EverBank Field before the Jacksonville Jaguars' game against the Los Angeles Rams.
This all-American sport is dividing fans after some NFL players took a knee during the national anthem.
“I am asking people to boycott the football games. I don’t watch it on TV,” Smiley said.
People's feelings about politics and football seem to bleed together on the turf.
“People need to realize the true message that they’re trying to send,” Jaguars fan Jay Crossman said.
Smiley said he was disgusted by the Jags players who knelt in London. Now, he’s taking a stand, making his voice be heard.
“Do you believe in your country? Do you believe in 'The Star-Spangled Banner'? If you don’t stand up for it now, you won’t have it in the future,” Smiley said.
As a former Jags fan, he hired a pilot to fly his banner over the stadium for two hours to send his message about players kneeling.
“I have the right to protest, and I’m going to protest it with bumper stickers, airplanes – whatever I go to do. I will continue to protest,” Smiley said.
Some fans are on the offensive, saying players are kneeling for a greater cause – equality.
“They are taking it in a peaceful manner. They are trying to use their words and use their actions instead of taking it to violence,” Jaguars fan Jaumari Day said.
“They have publicly stated that they care about veterans and the flag and that’s not what they’re kneeling against,” Crossman said.
Smiley is giving away bumper stickers in hopes his supporters will join him and boycott NFL football.
“We boycott them and we hit them in the pocketbook where it (hurts) them. (Before) long, we’ll have them on both of their knees,” Smiley said.
“We have people who are legitimate concerns who happen to be NFL players. They still live in the community. They have a right to protest. That’s (Smiley's) right. Just like the NFL players who take their knee that’s their right. He has the right to do what he is doing,” Jaguars fan Calvin Sinclair said.