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Texas Agriculture Chief Boycotts NFL Over Players Kneeling for Anthem

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest of racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem is starting to spread. Here's what Texans are saying about it.

Sid Miller, who was elected agriculture commissioner in November 2014, is shown at Day 3 of the Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth on June 7, 2014.

Since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem two weeks ago, several Texas officials have objected to his form of silent protest as the controversy has made ripples around the state.

Kaepernick, who has said he's protesting racial injustice, has found support in some fellow players. But he's also drawn the ire of Texas officials who say he and others are disrespecting the nation's flag and veterans. 

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller posted on Facebook last Friday that he would boycott the NFL and not watch any games until the league requires players stand for the national anthem. Miller told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday he'll still support the Dallas Cowboys since General Manager Jerry Jones spoke out against kneeling during the national anthem. But he said his boycott of other teams continues.

"I'm a rodeo guy," Miller said. "You won't see that happen at the rodeo."

Miller said football players who kneel during the national anthem were sending the wrong message to young Texans who are watching football games. 

"It's not about [the players], it's about being an American and being an example," Miller said. "I'm going to boycott everybody except the Dallas Cowboys."

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted about his own boycott of NFL players' merchandise and products.

"To all the athletes who have made millions in America's freedom: stop insulting our flag, our nation, our heroes,” Cruz tweeted. "Here's a peaceful protest: never buy another shoe, shirt, or jersey of rich spoiled athletes who dishonor our flag." 

So far this season, no players for the Dallas Cowboys or the Houston Texans have kneeled during the national anthem. But some younger Texans have taken up the form of silent protesting. Players for the Beaumont Bulls, a team of 11- and 12-year-olds in the Bay Area Football League, took a knee during the national anthem before a game on Saturday.

A video of them kneeling quickly went viral online.

"There's been a lot of hate," April Parkerson, who has a son on the team, told The Beaumont Enterprise. Commenters online are saying, "our coaches and players should be lynched, they should have burned in 9/11, there are people who are saying the n-word."

Beaumont Bulls coach Rah-Rah Barber told the Enterprise that the players kneeled to protest "the injustice that goes on in our society for minorities."

Elsewhere in Texas, people are either supporting the national anthem or protesting Kaepernick.

This past Friday, football players at Ford High School in Quinlan ISD in East Texas stood with police officers during the game's national anthem to "show support for the 'Backing the Blue' effort and the United States of America."

Tiffony Upchurch, Quinlan ISD director of school community relations, said the gesture originally started in response to the police shooting in Dallas that left five officers dead. But she said the controversy surrounding Kaepernick "definitely played into" the display as well.

"I think small-town America strives to instill pride for our country and the national anthem at a very young age," Upchurch said. 

In the Texas Panhandle, the Dumas Noon Lions Club posted a video on Facebook of the local high school football team standing and singing the national anthem.

In League City, a cigar lounge turned Kaepernick's football jersey into a doormat for its customers to "wipe their feet" on.

And ahead of games played on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Dallas Police Corporal Dan Russell wrote a letter on his Facebook pleading with players to stand for the anthem.

"I humbly ask — I beg — that you do not sit down for The Star Spangled Banner on this coming Sunday, the 15th anniversary of 09/11/2001," Russell wrote. "To do so would be a slap in the face to millions of fans, millions of public Servants, millions of Americans, to 09/11 first responders, to the survivors, and to the families of all that were involved and impacted by that terrible day." 

What do you think about athletes taking a knee during the national anthem? 

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