After dozens of Denver Broncos football players kneeled during the national anthem prior to a Sunday game against the Buffalo Bills, a veteran in Colorado decided he was done. So, he donated thousands of dollars worth of Broncos gear to charity.
In a speech during a rally in Alabama on Friday, President Donald Trump criticized NFL players who he said disrespect the American flag by kneeling during the anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired’” Trump said.
On Sunday, 32 Denver Broncos players kneeled during the national anthem, in addition to many more players from other NFL teams.
Trump tweeted a response to the protests, contending that “Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country.”
Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
The large protest by Broncos players prompted some die-hard fans to abandon their home team.
Jerry Lauritzen, a disabled Air Force veteran from Thornton, Colorado, began ridding himself of his Broncos gear by removing the team flags outside his home.
“I shut the game off,” Lauritzen told KCNC-TV in Denver. “I feel (kneeling during the anthem) was disrespectful to everybody. … You don’t have to come and thank me. Every person I see standing up there, I believe is saying, ‘Thank you Jerry. I appreciate your time serving.’”
Lauritzen, who had been collecting Broncos memorabilia since 1964, cleared his closets and shelves of anything related to the team.
“What people spend to support these teams, and these (players) can’t have enough respect to stand up,” he said.
Despite the protest of 32 of his teammates, Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe told ESPN he would be standing during the national anthem Sunday to pay tribute “to the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom.”
“I stand because I respect the men who died in real battles so I have the freedom to battle on the field,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe noted that “everyone these days likes to find a reason to protest and that’s their right. It’s America and you are free to speak your mind. I just feel it’s disrespectful to the ones who sacrificed their lives and it’s the wrong platform.”
Calling America the “greatest country in the world,” Wolfe wondered, “if you don’t think we are the greatest country in the world and you reside here, then why do you stay?”
“A lot worse places in the world to call home. Proud to be an American,” he added.
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