Chicago firefighter gets pushback after taking knee at charity football game
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A black firefighter ignited some controversy in Chicago when he took a knee during the national anthem at a charity football game between the Chicago’s police and fire departments, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The firefighter, Camron McGarity, is seen in a photograph kneeling on the sidelines while players on either side of him stand during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Garry McCarthy, the fired Chicago police superintendent and now a mayoral candidate, said the protest generated “grumbling” among the roughly 1,000 spectators watching the game.


The charity game was being played in dedication to two officers who died in the line of duty.

Sources told the Sun-Times that teammates viewed McGarity’s demonstration as so offensive to the families that they are considering barring him from the team next season.

However, Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said he does not plan to punish McGarity.

“It appears the member is expressing his First Amendment right to demonstrate,” Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford told the Sun-Times.

McCarthy agreed that McGarity shouldn’t be punished but called the demonstration “inappropriate behavior” because it took attention away from the true reason for the game.

Judy Austerd, the woman who offered a photo of McGarity’s kneeling to the Sun-Times, told the paper that she was “angry, disappointed and embarrassed” by the incident.

“Exactly what are you protesting, seeing that you have what I’ve heard referred as a dream job that is treasured by many and hoped for by many more,” Austerd wrote the Sun-Times in an email. “Other than afford you the honor and privilege to serve alongside some of the most noble men and women that this city has to offer, how have you been mistreated?”

The incident comes shortly after the NFL announced it would fine teams whose players took a knee during the national anthem in the upcoming season.

Players have kneeled to protest racial injustice and police brutality during the national anthem since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence MORE has often spoken out against players kneeling and has called for players who have protested to be fired or leave the country. He has also expressed support for the NFL’s new policy.