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Chattanooga man loses job after sitting during national anthem at weekend event

A man says he lost his job because of the stance he took at an event that NewsChannel 9 sponsors. (WTVC)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WTVC) - A man says he lost his job because of the stance he took at an event that NewsChannel 9 sponsors.

The termination comes during a national conversation about respect for the American flag.

The man who was let go was with 9Round, a kickboxing gym in Chattanooga.

The company says the man was in training to become a coach at its gym. He says he'd only been on the payroll for a little more than a week before the owner told him not to come back.

Tyler Chancellor says he was invited to sit with his co-workers in the VIP section of the Camp Jordan arena Saturday.

Monday, he says his employer fired him because he sat during the national anthem.

"Me being a minority in this society, I chose to stand up for what I believe in -- well, not actually stand up, but sit down for what I believe in," Chancellor said.

Chancellor says Saturday was the first time he'd been present for the playing of the national anthem since the controversy between the NFL and President Donald Trump began.

"I wasn't the only one sitting down," he said. "There were other minorities in the stands sitting down."

He says no one said anything to him that night and he didn't know anything was wrong until he met with his boss Monday morning.

"She said, 'Because you sat down, you were a part of a 9Round event, and you sat during the national anthem. We no longer want to continue business with you.' There was no sugar coating," he said.

The owner of the facility in East Brainerd told NewsChannel 9 the company backs military and first responders. He considered Chancellor's actions disrespectful.

A Harvard Law School professor we talked to says the law in Tennessee is written so that employers like 9Round can run their businesses however they want.

"Employers are entitled to fire people, what's known as 'at will.' That is for any reason they have, or for no reason at all," Mark Tushnet said.

According to the professor, Tennessee isn't necessarily unique. About half of the country's states do not ban an employer from terminating someone because of political beliefs.

Chancellor says he found that out after looking into taking legal action. Even though there's not much he can do, he doesn't regret his decision to sit.

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