An Indiana lawmaker is proposing new legislation that would force the Indianapolis Colts to issue refunds to fans who feel offended by players who kneel in protest during the national anthem, the IndyStar reported.
The bill, proposed by Rep. Milo Smith (R-Columbus), would essentially allow game-goers who feel “disrespected” by the sideline demonstrations to ask for a refund within the first quarter. The team would not be obligated to give refunds if players of the opposing team protest, however.
The protests first made waves in 2016 when former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest racism and police brutality in America. NFL stars across the country followed his lead last year after President Donald Trump criticized the “sons of b-tches” who dared to kneel during the anthem.
Like Trump, Smith feels the protests are disrespectful to the country and the flag.
“To me when they take a knee during the national anthem, it’s not respecting the national anthem or our country,” he said. “…Our government is not perfect — but it is still the best country in the world, and I think we need to be respectful of it.”
The lawmaker said he was personally offended when a group of Colts players decided to kneel during a game against the Cleveland Browns this past September. Smith attended the game with his daughter.
“I’m pretty patriotic, and it didn’t sit right with me,” he told the newspaper.
An official with the ACLU of Indiana argued, however, that the proposed bill could be a violation of constitutional rights.
“In effect by passing the law, government would be weighing in…and fining political speech by the Indianapolis Colts,” Jane Henegar, executive director of the Indiana branch, said. “It seems like the worst thing that could happen is government weighing in and then trying to control in any direction the political speech of private actors.”
Smith doubled down on the legality of his legislation, however, making clear that it doesn’t stop a person from kneeling.