Football (illustration)
Football (illustration) Thinkstock

New Jersey-based Flemington Car and Truck Country has yanked its ads from NFL games for the remainder of the 2017 season in response to the ongoing controversy over players refusing to stand for the national anthem.

"The National Football League and its owners have shown their fans and marketing partners that they do not have a comprehensive policy to ensure that players stand and show respect for America and our flag during the playing of the national anthem," owner Steve Kalafer said in a statement. "We have canceled all our NFL advertising on the Optimum and Infinity (cable) networks."

Flemington Car and Truck Country is the second sponsor to drop its ads in response to the phenomenon. Last week, a Denver car dealership said it would 'reevaluate' its sponsorship of Denver Broncos star Von Miller after he refused to stand for the national anthem.

The furor first erupted after Trump bashed football players who kneel during the national anthem at a campaign rally in early September. Trump urged the crowd to protest players who don't stand up for the national anthem, telling them "when people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem, the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it's one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop." He called for all of them to be fired, reminding the public that player salaries are in the millions..

In response, a large number of NFL players refused to stand for the national anthem the following Sunday and Trump was hit with criticism by players from all over the sports world, including Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi. “The number one job of the president is bringing the people together,” Casspi said during an interview with NBC. “He’s the one that the people chose to be at the top but he needs to bring people together.”

Spectator sports have suffered a steep decline in ratings since the national anthem kneeling phenomenon began, following the refusal of NFL star Colin Kaepernick to stand in honor of the anthem before games, ostensibly to protests police violence against blacks. Since then, these actions have been viewed by many as disrespectful to the military and as an unpatriotic move.

Fans were especially angered on Monday when Kansas City Chief's players chose to kneel during the national anthem following the deadly shooting attack in Las Vegas that killed 58 shortly beforehand. According to the BBC, fans booed and held up signs telling players to "protest on your own time".