GOP candidate for Ohio governor pulls ad over NFL protests

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, speaks at a GOP Get Out the Vote rally in Independence, Ohio Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Republican congressman running for Ohio governor has pulled a $20,000 television ad from an upcoming NFL broadcast over protests by players kneeling during the national anthem.

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci announced Friday he was cancelling an ad scheduled to run Sunday during the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Renacci acknowledges players’ First Amendment right to the protest but calls the behavior appalling and disparaging to the U.S. flag and the national anthem. He says the ad will be rescheduled for a non-NFL event.

The taking of a knee during the national anthem was started last year by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (KAP’-ur-nihk) to draw attention to racial injustice and police brutality. Other players have joined in.

President Donald Trump calls the protest disrespectful.

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