Cashing in on national anthem controversy

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ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) - It didn't take long for the NFL’s national anthem controversy to hit t-shirt stands, online and in the mall.

"I'm just here to make money off of it, and that's it,” Bay Park Sqaure Mall salesman Omar Samy told Action 2 News ahead of the game Thursday.

Samy runs a free-standing shirt store called Customized Teez, where controversial t-shirts are sold year-round—right now, cashing in on controversy with shirts that say things like, ‘if this flag offends you, I’ll help you pack,’ and ‘stand with the flag.'

Samy loves watching people’s reactions while they walk through the mall, often stopping to grab t-shirts and hoodies. “They just jumped right in like, 'I have to have one of these! I love that!' and you know, 'this has gotta be for dad, this has gotta be for mom,” he said. “One lady came in and asked for ten of them."

But it’s not all positive. “Some people are mad and they try to tell me like, 'oh you should put that down. This is offensive,’” he told Action 2 News.

We spoke with Vietnam veteran Tim McDonough who agrees with the shirts, but not necessarily the salesman's hustle. "I think it shouldn't be exploited for profit, per say. But then again, it's a free country I guess. That's part of the essence,” he said.

We went online and found a lot more shirts--even stickers, and throw pillows: some in favor of taking a knee, others in favor of standing for the anthem. Samy says as long as it sells, he doesn't really care what it says. “Everybody knows it’s controversial. Everybody's talking about it anyways. A lot of people have been asking for it so we had to just put it out there. You know?”