Swansea man hosts Patriots protest, burns team apparel

SWANSEA, Mass. (WPRI) – Mark Shane of Swansea led a protest against some of the Patriots kneeling during the National Anthem of their Sunday game against the Houston Texans.

Shane only allowed people to burn jerseys of the 17 players who knelt, even though police and firefighters have warned against it.

The protest drew a crowd of supporters who joined in burning Patriots apparel.

“We will not support the NFL. We will not buy their gear. We will not watch their football on TV,” Shane said as the crowd erupted in applause. “We will not do anything to support them if they are going to disrespect our veterans. And disrespect our flag.”

Police closed the streets in the neighborhood around 5:45 p.m., but Shane said he organized shuttles to pick people up from the Swansea Mall for people who want to come.

Shane is a life long Patriots fan and says it was a pre-game sight he never expected to witness.

“To see them do that Sunday when I was at the game, I almost fell out of my seat,” he said. “I’m not saying they don’t have a valid point or they do, I’m saying don’t make it during the National Anthem.”

Shane invited people to his home where he set up chairs and lined his yard with American flags in preparation for the protest.

He did not want people to buy jerseys for the protest just to burn them, but only to bring the jersey if they already owned one. Most people to brought Patriots apparel or clothing that was red and blue, the teams colors.

The Swansea Fire Chief previously told Eyewitness News that Shane will not be getting a burn permit for the protest.

Shane says he is following the town guidelines because he will primarily be using the open fire to cook.

“We plan on having some hot dogs and if a few jerseys fall in, what are you going to do?” he said.