September 29, 2017 12:21 PM
Former Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels is asking NFL fans disenchanted by protests against the national anthem not to burn their tickets to Sunday's Vikings/Lions game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Rather, he is offering to buy those tickets, and he said he will donate them to a veteran, or a child who could not otherwise afford to go.
"If anyone is interested in burning or throwing away your Vikings tickets, could I buy them & donate them to poor kids and vets in MN," Rosenfels asked in a Twitter post Wednesday - underneath one of a number of photos circulating online this week of fans burning NFL gear.
If anyone is interested in burning or throwing away your Vikings tickets, could I buy them & donate them to poor kids and vets in MN?? pic.twitter.com/tFfUBFjRAJ— Sage Rosenfels (@SageRosenfels18) September 27, 2017
As of Friday morning, though, Rosenfels said he'd had no takers on his offer.
"I have not," he said. "But what I have heard, or seen on Twitter, is incredible response from people on opposite ends of the spectrum. Some people have said 'What a great idea. Thank you for helping. The tickets are already bought so they might as well get put to good use.'
"And there have been other people saying, 'Why would the troops ever want to go to a game and be disrespected like that? Why would poor kids want to see adults disrespecting the flag?' Then there have just been people swearing at me.
"One guy did say he was a vet, and if I run across tickets, he'd love to take his kid to a game."
But while Rosenfels found no disgruntled fans wishing to sell him their tickets, he did purchase a couple on his own for Sunday's game. And he is planning to work through the Vikings to ensure they go to a veteran who wants to attend.
Rosenfels spent two stints with the Vikings as part of a 12-season NFL career and is now a writer and analyst. He said the inspiration for his offer came from a conversation he had with ESPN's Kenny Mayne.
Mayne made a similar offer on Twitter this week himself.
"He's jealous because mine got more retweets than his did," Rosenfels said with a laugh.
"But we were talking about something completely separate. And he asked if I'd seen these people burning their tickets and jerseys. We talked about offering to buy them, and and it just seemed like a really good idea."
Rosenfels said players understand how kneeling during the national anthem makes some veterans feel.
But in the uproar, he feels some of the issues that inspired the protest in the first place have gotten lost. When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others began their protests last season, it was meant as a way of calling attention to issues such as the relationship between police and people of color, as well as the inequality many feel those communities face in society and the criminal justice system.
"No player wants to kneel," Rosenfels said. "But a group of players - and it did start with Colin Kaepernick - wanted to use their platform to address some concerns in this country that are legitimate. They could scream and protest and shut down highways, which makes lots of people angry. But they didn't.
"They took a simple action, but one they knew would cause an emotional uproar. It got a much larger response than if Kaepernick had just talked about those issues at a press conference like a lot of people wanted him to. You're not going to change social issues just by talking about them at a press conference."
Updated: September 29, 2017 12:21 PM
Created: September 29, 2017 11:23 AM
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