Denver veterans split on controversy surrounding kneeling during national anthem

DENVER -- Broncos fans have a wide range of opinions when it comes to NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.

But it might be the opinions of those who fought for the country that matter the most.

Wounded five times in Vietnam, Dennis Johnson still supports NFL players' right to protest during the national anthem.

"When I first got back from Vietnam, the only thing I really got riled up about is when I saw somebody burn the flag," he said.

"I fought for my country,  for people to have the choice to do what they want and that's how I feel they have the right to either stand or kneel."

But combat veterans at Denver's Veterans Affairs hospital were split over the issue.

"I think it's wrong. They're disrespecting the flag, they're disrespecting the country," combat veteran Malcolm Adkins said.

Manuel Martinez Jr., also a combat veteran, expressed frustration that the anthem has become divisively politicized.

"The president shouldn't have got his nose involved with the National Football League and I feel that we have a right to our opinions," he said.

But others believe the focus should not be a fight over President Donald Trump and NFL players, but on social injustice, which is how the protests started last season.

"We as black veterans came back to this country with no rights. We fought for that flag and came back here and still was discriminated against," combat veteran Paul Perry said.

"So these are the issues that need to be addressed in this country."