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FORD CITY (KDKA) — Folks burned their Steelers gear outside a Ford City VFW hall Saturday in response to Sunday’s national anthem controversy.

Fans earlier this week posted videos and photos online of their Steelers gear on fire after the team stayed off the field during the national anthem at Sunday’s game in Chicago.

The Steelers chose to stay off the field after controversy erupted over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

The decision angered many fans, including those who attended the gear-burning bonfire at VFW Post 4843.

“We will stand with anybody for freedom, justice and equality,” Ford City VFW Chaplain Elmer Lightner said, “but we will kneel with nobody to disgrace the flag.”

“[Veterans] lost life and limb and their minds so that you guys could play football,” Bob Slowen of Plum Borough said. “If it wasn’t for them, you’d be playing soccer and speaking German.”

VFW leaders say all the money raised at Saturday’s event will be donated to a local veterans’ association.

Other veterans organizations in the area were also upset with the protests in the NFL and said they would stop showing football games at their posts.

Earlier this week, the Steelers said the entire team planned to be on the field during the national anthem at their game against the Ravens in Baltimore.

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