Retired Navy Vet Refuses Award From NFL Team Over Anthem Protests

What started as a small problem that the National Football League chose to ignore has grown into a rather large one. The controversy over the National Anthem protests by NFL players has consumed the game and its coverage, and it’s unclear if there will be long-term ramifications for the once untouchable brand as a result. It’s one of the more divisive debates that has popped up in recent times, and that’s saying something when you consider what the overall political environment is like these days.

For confirmation of how contentious the issue is, we need to look no further than this story. As Fox News Insider shares, a retired Navy veteran has refused an award that was going to be bestowed on him by the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. His reasoning? He can’t reconcile the fact that he vehemently disagrees with the anthem protests.

Retired Navy Commander John Wells initially felt "touched, honored and excited" when the club offered up the award before the season began, but he feels quite differently these days. The practice of protesting the anthem grew by leaps and bounds this season, and it reached untenable levels in the wake of President Donald Trump’s remarks on the practice. More players protested in response, yet there was no clear reasoning or answer as to why they were protesting to begin with.

All the while, scores of fans and viewers were put off by the sight of highly-compensated athletes disrespecting the flag and anthem. While the players are quick to point out that’s not their intent, the visual of their actions says otherwise. League officials are currently scrambling to clean up the mess, but hindsight suggests this was a completely avoidable public relations blunder.

Currently unemployed player Colin Kaepernick started the trend last year, and the league turned a blind eye. Kaepernick kicked things up a notch by offering up divisive commentary to explain his actions, and there was still nary a peep from league offices. Once Trump got involved and drew attention to the off-putting nature of the protests, the league was finally inspired to respond - but it has yet to take a firm stand on things.

For Wells, it was a bit of a difficult decision to refuse the award, but he feels he made the right call.

"Other than a bunch of photo ops and a few free tickets I'm not sure what they've done to support vets," he said.

The Saints aren’t pleased, and the club took the time to note that his decision was "sad and divisive discourse." It’s unclear if the club needs a refresher on the age-old tale of the pot that called the kettle black. In any event, this is a perfect snapshot of how divisive the issue has become. We have a veteran who simply can’t bring himself to accept an olive branch from a league that can’t handle its own housekeeping. One of the league’s clubs feels that the vet’s stance is ‘sad and divisive.’ This conversation would not be happening if league officials didn’t tiptoe around Kaepernick as he was making a spectacle of himself, but it certainly seems like that simple nugget of wisdom is beginning to be digested.

Source: Fox News Insider
Photo: YouTube

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