While Sunday may well go down in history as the day the NFL lost its mind over anthem protests, one NFL star isn’t joining the chaos.
Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe has been unapologetically pro-national anthem. So while the rest of the NFL spent Sunday kneeling and linking arms as a direct response to President Donald Trump’s condemnation of anthem protesters, Wolfe just has one question for all of them.
“[I]t’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?” Wolfe said in a statement provided to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
And it’s a very good question that most NFL anthem protesters may struggle to eloquently answer.
It’s also a question that many NFL fans have. Most NFL players would have to master soccer to make comparable money in any country outside of the United States. Considering that football and fútbol are two entirely different sports, that seems unlikely.
The Broncos still participated in anthem protests Sunday. Wolfe did acknowledge that America is a free country, and its citizens are free to peaceably protest, but he didn’t join.
— Michael Spencer (@MichaelCBS4) September 24, 2017
While star linebackers Von Miller and Brandon Marshall both knelt, you can clearly see Wolfe (No. 95) standing with his hand over his chest in the bottom right image posted on Twitter by KCNC-TV’s Michael Spencer.
And Wolfe has a pretty good reasoning for wanting to stand as well.
“I stand because I respect the men who died in real battle so I have the freedom to battle on the field,” Wolfe said. “Paying tribute to the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom is why I stand. 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 just in case it wasn’t readily evident, Wolfe made his ultimate case to end his statement.
“Proud to be an American.”