Illini fans weigh in on national anthem protests

College football has less controversy before kick off, as teams don't come out to the field until after the national anthem plays. (WCCU)

As we head into another big football weekend, Americans continue to be divided about NFL player protests of the national anthem.

The football started early this weekend for Illini fans, as the team played the first Friday night game of the season.

No players were on the field for Friday night’s playing of the national anthem, which is how most college football games run.

NFL teams play by different rules, the league mandates both teams be on the field before the anthem plays.

Even though the Illini football players weren't a part of Friday’s national anthem, one Illini fan said for him the playing of the national anthem is an important part of the game.

"As a parent, my son left to go to the Air Force when he was 18-years-old and he went to Guam and Afghanistan after that,” Illini fan Kerry Kidwell said. “Before that I thought the national anthem was just part of the game, but after that I found myself coming to a game and actually crying during a national anthem because he was so far."

When it comes to the NFL players protesting the national anthem, Kidwell said he respects everyone’s right to freedom of expression, but thinks the national anthem should be a time for all Americans to come together.

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