Proposed legislation would require Colts to offer refunds to fans offended by players kneeling

Members of the Indianapolis Colts stand and kneel for the national anthem prior to the start of the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Colts fans who are offended by players kneeling during the national anthem could have their tickets refunded under legislation being filed by an Indiana lawmaker.

Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, told our news gathering partners at the Indy Star the proposed legislation would allow fans at home games to ask for a refund during the first quarter.

“To me when they take a knee during the national anthem, it’s not respecting the national anthem or our country,” Rep. Smith told the newspaper. “Our government isn’t perfect, but it’s still the best country in the world and I think we need to be respectful of it.”

The Indy Star says a representative for the Colts declined to comment on the proposal.

In late September, President Trump criticized former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling in protest of police brutality and racial injustice. After, many NFL replied to the President’s comments by joining Kaepernick in the protest.

A group of Colts players kneeled during a game against the Cleveland Browns. While some supported the players’ decision, many did not. Some fans went as far as burning their tickets and jerseys.

Vice President Mike Pence attended that Colts game, but famously left when the players decided to kneel. Shortly after, he took to Twitter saying “I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”

Rep. Smith was also at the game. He told the Indy Star that he was offended but decided to stay.

“I’m pretty patriotic, and it didn’t sit right with me,” said Rep. Smith.

Jane Henegar, Executive Director of ACLU Indiana, told the Indy Star that the proposal could be a constitutional violation.

“In effect by passing the law, government would be weighing in…and fining political speech by the Indianapolis Colts,” Henegar said. “It seems like the worst thing that could happen is government weighing in and trying to control in any direction the political speech of private actors.”

Rep. Smith defended the legality of his bill, noting that it doesn’t stop someone from kneeling. It would not require the Colts to provide refunds if players from visiting teams decided to kneel.