(IndyStar) - An Indiana lawmaker is filing legislation that would require the Indianapolis Colts to offer fans refunds if Colts players kneel during the national anthem at home games.
Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, said his bill would allow fans who feel disrespected by the kneeling to ask for a refund during the first quarter.
"To me when they take a knee during the national anthem, it’s not respecting the national anthem or our country," Smith said. "Our government isn’t perfect, but it's still the best country in the world and I think we need to be respectful of it."
NFL players across the country started kneeling during the national anthem in late September after President Donald Trump criticized former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling in protest of police brutality and racial injustice.
Smith and his daughter were attending the Colts' September game against the Cleveland Browns when a group of Colts players decided to kneel along with about 200 other NFL players across the country.
He was offended but stayed at the game.
"I'm pretty patriotic, and it didn't sit right with me," said Smith.
Jane Henegar, executive director of ACLU Indiana, said his proposal could be a constitutional violation.
"In effect by passing the law, government would be weighing in...and fining political speech by the Indianapolis Colts," Henegar said. "It seems like the worst thing that could happen is government weighing in and trying to control in any direction the political speech of private actors."
Smith defended the legality of his bill, noting that it doesn't stop someone from kneeling.
Smith's bill would not require the Colts to provide refunds if players from the visiting team decided to kneel. In October, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a Colts game when players from the 49ers kneeled.
"I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence tweeted after the game.
Smith is a social conservative who played a key role in advancing a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage onto the Indiana House floor in 2014. His son, who is gay, criticized his father for his vote at the time.
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