(National Sentinel) NFHell: A highly-paid defensive end for the NFL’s New York Giants sparked ire among fans and some sports commentators after telling fans if they didn’t like his kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem, they shouldn’t come to the game.

“You hear ‘coward’ and ‘stand up’ and ‘disgrace.’ It’s fine. As long as nobody comes on the field and touches me. You stay where you at, you’re going to be all right. They have a right. Oh yeah, I hear it all the time. If they don’t like it, don’t come to the game,” said defensive lineman Olivier Vernon.

The statement dumbfounded former NFL players and football analysts including former NFL quarterback-turned-CBS Sports commentator Boomer Esiason, who called Vernon’s comments an “out-and-out disgrace.”

He pointed out that recently Vernon signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Giants, making him the highest-paid defensive end in league history.

“Here is a guy you gave $80 million to basically telling your fans, ‘If you don’t like it, don’t come’. It is the most egregious act of defiance. It just blows me away,” said Esiason, as reported by The Gateway Pundit.

Vernon’s comments come as more and more empty seats are seen at stadiums around the league — especially for teams like the Giants who have had a miserable season. The team stands at 2-10, with four games left in the season — last place in their NFC East division.

What’s more, since the protests began last season and widened this year, fan viewership of prime-time games has fallen by double digits, leading some advertisers to rethink their ad strategies moving forward.

“Do you realize, Olivier Vernon, that you do not make the money unless the fans do come and buy the tickets and buy your jersey? Do you not realize that when the TV turns on, there is a large swath of advertisers that buy around the league so that you can make the freaking money that you make?” Esiason said on Sunday.

The Gateway Pundit observered, “Considering Vernon has not backed down from his statements, it seems he doesn’t understand how the League makes the money they pay him or he just doesn’t care – either way, until they focus on what the fans want, the NFL will continue to fail.”

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