Local players, coaches react to President’s tweets, comments on the national anthem

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MERIDEN --  There has been plenty of reaction to the growing NFL national anthem controversy, including on a local level.

The Platt high school football team is a diverse collection of players from all backgrounds. But, they say, whether to stand for the anthem has never been an issue

"The constitution allows you to protest in a peaceful manner," said Jason Bruenn, head football coach at Platt. "My own opinion, I stand for the pledge. I stand for the national anthem."

He does that, in part, out of respect for his former players that have gone on to serve our country.

"They are getting shot at so that I can live a free life and do the things I love to do," said Bruenn, the 11th-year head coach.

President Donald Trump, of course, tweeted and tweaked some on the issue throughout the weekend . On Friday night, the President said something at a rally that stoked the anthem fire.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Outr! He's fired!'"

"I think he was a little out of line to say that him being in politics and sports they don't really mix well together but everyone is entitled to their own opinion," said Pierce Matias, a Platt Senior Captain 25:30

In protest, nearly the entire Pittsburgh Steelers team stayed in the locker room before their game with the Bears Sunday. But, Steelers' lineman and military veteran Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, who served three tours of duty in the Middle East, stood with his hand on his heart during the anthem. His jersey sales skyrocketed to near number one for this past week.

"I personally stand for the national anthem because with what's going on I don't feel oppressed in any type of way," said Platt Senior Captain AJ Marinelli. "I don't think the situation has anything to do with me."

Those picking up lunch at Ted's Restaurant, in Meriden, we're not bashful about serving up their opinion.

"Stay in the locker room and don't come out on the field and kneel," said Roland Ewert, a Wallingford native, who now lives in southern California.. 06:08

"I was in the service myself and I respect the flag," said Tim Hurley of Torrington. "I respect the country and I think all should."

The Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars players knelt during the playing of the National Anthem prior to their game in London. But, both teams stood for the playing of God Save The Queen.