ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe explained his position on why he would not be kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
Wolfe told ESPN in a statement before the game he would not kneel because “paying tribute to the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom is why I stand.”
“Everyone these days likes to find a reason to protest and that’s their right,” he added.
Several NFL players took a knee during the national anthem before games Sunday in protest of remarks President Donald Trump made at a rally in Alabama on Saturday.
“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 told a crowd in Huntsville, Alabama.
Instead of taking a knee, most players opted for a show of unity, locking arms during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” But several others opted to kneel, including many with the Broncos.
The protesters in the league have decided to sit or kneel during the anthem to raise awareness of social injustice and police brutality.
“I stand because I respect the men who died in real battle so I have the freedom to battle on the field. Paying tribute to the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom is why I stand,” Wolfe told ESPN.
“But 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 maybe the wrong platform.
“But like I said, to each their own. It’s AMERICA! The greatest country in the world and 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.”