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Former National Football League player Burgess Owens said he remembers the NFL being known for its patriotism and character, but now its brand is "anti-Americanism and thuggery."

"We're fighting against an agenda of liberalism, socialism, and Marxism," Owens, who played for the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders in the 1970s and '80s told "Fox & Friends" on Sunday.

Owens' comments come after a new poll suggests that the biggest reason football fans tuned out to the National Football League in 2016 was San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protests of the national anthem.

Around 26 percent of NFL fans polled said they stopped watching as much because of the protests, a J.D. Power poll found.

"I'm not surprised at all," Owens said of viewers' disappointment.

Owens said the national anthem protests are related to the way the Left uses the black community to get elected.

 "We have these young people now that are reeling," Ownes continued. "Every single election cycle they [politicians] get them the anti-American sentiment, anti-flag, anti-police, anti-white, and it's all to do one thing: get white and black socialist liberal elitists elected.

"We need to stand strong because the American way has always been the way that our country has thrived and come together."


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