USAA members demand company cut ties with NFL

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USAA members are calling for the company to ends its sponsorship with the NFL after recent protests by professional athletes during the national anthem. 

USAA is the official military appreciation sponsor of the NFL. The "Salute to Service" campaign was launched in 2011 to advertise with the league and show appreciation for the military.

"The focus of USAA's sponsorship is to honor service members, veterans and their families with exclusive access and once-in-a-life experiences at various team and NFL-related events and programs. These efforts include ways for NFL fans, players and teams to show their appreciation for the military and their families," Hartwig said.

Members expressed their frustrations on several online threads that are posted on USAA's member community page. John C. said he's begun canceling his accounts with USAA.

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"I just called to begin canceling my USAA products. The offices are closed now so I'll call again in the morning. Credit card will be first. I have plenty of those. Insurance will be cancelled after that; I just have to find replacement coverage first. USAA, more than any other sponsor, should take the lead in dropping the NFL and sending a message. Absent that, this isn't the company I thought it was so I'll find other providers and send my own message," John C said.

Another member said the sponsorship is disrespectful to the military. 

"If you sponsor them, you are neither honoring nor appreciating the military community. How is the NFL encouraging America to respect and say "thank you" to our military if they can't even have their players show respect for our flag?! Our men come home dead underneath our flag! Cmon USAA do the right thing...." Krispirkle said. 

Eyewitness News talked to one USAA member who disagreed with the other members. 

"They're not taking a knee because they don't support the military. They support something that's firmly within them, which is fine. We live in a free society where anyone can do that," Rafael Andrada said. "I'm sure a lot of veterans feel a little different than I do but at the same time, you fought for the right for people to do stuff like that."

Hartwig did not say if there will be any changes to the company's partnership and would not comment on the posts online. Instead, he sent us a statement:

"We believe it is an honor to stand during the national anthem to show our respect for our country and the men and women who have fought to protect all of our freedoms," Hartwig said.