Retired veteran declines award at NFL game; says award tainted by protests

Image courtesy of Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WRIC) — A retired Navy officer who was supposed to be given an honorary award during this upcoming Sunday’s New Orleans Saints game declined the award, saying he is doing so in response to National Anthem protests.

John Wells, a disabled veteran and former commander who is currently the Executive Director of Military Veterans Advocacy said Thursday he could not accept the award while protests continue throughout the league.

“Although I am touched and honored to be selected for such an award, the ongoing controversy with NFL players’ disrespect for the national flag forces me to decline to participate in the presentation,” Wells wrote to executives at Peoples Health and the New Orleans Saints organization according to a release.  “I am unable, in good conscience, to enter an NFL stadium while this discourtesy prevails. Since this award is tainted with the dishonorable actions of the NFL and its players, I cannot accept it.”

Wells said he hopes the NFL will outlaw protests during the National Anthem.

“Their failure to act is a slap in the face to all of those who have served in uniform,” Wells wrote. “Men and women have fought and died for the flag that the players are disrespecting.”

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