Several Bills players knelt during the national anthem Sunday. Others decided to lock arms.
“I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is just acting like a jerk,” LeSean McCoy said in a post-game press conference.
Several players from the Bills and the opposing Denver Broncos took a knee during the anthem at New Era Field on Sunday after President Donald Trump criticized NFL players who protest Friday. Trump said owners should “fire” NFL players who protest the anthem and referred to them each as a “son of a b****.”
It was a show of solidarity for members of the NFL who believe President Trump’s remarks Friday evening toward players were divisive. However, there were plenty of people – fans, players, politicians – picking sides, and not all agreed with protesting the National anthem.
One stadium worker in particular, Erich Nikischer, who has nearly 30 years of experience working at New Era Field, formerly Rich Stadium, under his belt, quit his job Sunday, saying he was “pushed” to the limit after several Buffalo Bills took a knee during the national anthem.
“I waited until the National Anthem ended, I took off my shirt, threw my Bills hat on the ground, walked out,” Nikischer said in a sit-down interview with local newscasters at his West Seneca home.
Both the Bills and Broncos kneel. pic.twitter.com/T55ikYQgFe
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 24, 2017
Nikischer says he has no issue with players protesting before the National Anthem. It’s when the kneeling continued into the song that strong feelings took over. He believed that the National Anthem was a time to honor those who fight to protect the freedoms that are enjoyed in the United States.
“During the National Anthem … the song that is about our country, our veterans that fight and die for us, it’s just something I feel you shouldn’t disrespect that way,” he said. “I believe people have the right to protest; I just don’t believe that’s the proper venue for it.”
He’s not alone in that latter sentiment. Safety Jordan Poyer’s fiancé said she and Jordan also feel that way, and that Saturday night, they decided he wouldn’t partake in an on the field protest.
“I feel like there’s a certain time or place where you should make a stand for something, and we both agree that it’s not in your work force, your work field,” Rachel Bush said. “So yeah, I agree there’s something that should be done, but we both mutually don’t agree that it should be done during their work… during their football season.”
Nikischer said, despite the suddenness of it all, leaving his job was a difficult decision, and that he will miss those he worked with.
“I will never step foot in the that place again, I will never watch an NFL football game again until this ends,” Nikischer said, emphatically.
[Featured Image by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images]