St. AUGUSTA – Today, we here at WJON are beginning our countdown of the Top 10 stories of 2020. Coming in at #10 - a story from St. Augusta that caused a stir several months ago.

In September, members of the American Legion in St. Augusta voted to ban airing National Football League games in its bar “until further notice.” The decision was made as a response to the league’s stance on players taking a knee during the national anthem.

At that time, Post Commander Mike Zenzen was worried customers who would normally go to the Legion to watch football would go elsewhere, damaging the Legion's bottom line.

“People like to go to the bar and watch football games,” Zenzen said in September. “It may have a financial impact on our legion. Or, it might be a plus. We just don’t know yet. My biggest worry is people who will now start going somewhere else and keep going somewhere else.”

Month later, Zenzen says the legion stood by the decision not to air any NFL games – and received a strong showing of support for the duration.

“I believe most of the reactions we had were positive,” Zenzen said. “We didn’t have much for negative reaction to it at all. As it turned out, the crowd was a bit smaller for the time during the football games, but not a whole lot.”

Zenzen says he’s not aware of any financial losses incurred by banning NFL games in the bar.

The act of taking a knee was started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 as a reaction to police violence against people of color. In June, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell came out in support of the action.

Zenzen says, as long as the NFL supports taking a knee during the anthem, they will opt out of showing the games.

“People do have a right to protest, but they might want to think a little more on how they want to protest,” Zenzen said. “This is our American Legion’s way of protesting taking a knee during the National Anthem, and disrespecting all the veterans out there. We listen to them, but they should listen to us, also.”

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