NFL Players Pay Tribute To Military Troops At Sunday Game

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady honored 200 members of the U.S. armed forces by inviting them to a National Football League game Sunday night, according to the Independent Journal Review.

CBS Boston reported that the player got the idea for the tribute from teammate Joe Cardona, an active member of the Navy. “Joe really started that and the team really jumped in,” Patriots Coach Bill Belichick told NESN. “We’re happy to have them here; obviously proud of the job they do for us, and give us the opportunity to do what we do. It will be a great night to recognize them and they certainly deserve it. They’re the real heroes.”

Cardona said on ESPN that he was surprised by how many troops accepted the invitation. “It’s a number that far exceeded expectations,” he said. “It was a collaborative effort. … We were thinking of ways to reach out, especially to our local military community, and show how much we value them. My point of view was, ‘Let’s give these men and women the experience of coming to a big game. Let’s get them a personal feel, them being our personal guests, guests of the team.’”

Cardona continued: “One percent of the population in the United States raises their hand and swears to protect and defend the Constitution. With such a small number of people serving now in our great, all-volunteer force, it’s become more of a divide between the civilian world and military world. So one personal goal of mine is to bridge that gap, and also the narrow divide and mentality between a war fighter and a professional athlete where performance is so important. Also, the brotherhood between those of us in the locker room is very similar to those many units around the country that are serving all over the world.”

The tribute was especially symbolic because the NFL has been embroiled in controversy. Some players have been sitting or kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest racial inequality. President Trump and others have lashed out at the athletes, accusing them of disrespecting the flag and the country. The president urged team owners to fire any “son of a b***h” who refuses to stand for the anthem.

Last month, Brady slammed Trump and defended the protesters, according to CNN. “Yeah, I certainly disagree with what he said,” the quarterback explained on WEEI in Boston. “I thought it was just divisive. Like I said, I just want to support my teammates. I am never one to say, ‘Oh, that is wrong; that is right.’ I do believe in what I believe in. I believe in bringing people together, and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me. That is how I try and live every day.”

Brady argued that “everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do,” adding: “If you don’t agree, that is fine. You can voice your disagreement. I think that is great. It’s part of our democracy. As long as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country has been all about.”

Source: Independent Journal Review
Photo: YouTube, Twitter

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