The New Orleans Saints are firing back at a retired Navy commander who declined to be honored at their game Sunday because of players protesting during the national anthem, calling his decision “unfortunate and disappointing.”
Retired Navy Cmdr. John Wells, executive director of the Louisiana-based Military Veterans Advocacy, was selected by the Saints to receive its Peoples Health Champion Award for highlighting the “health and well-being of our military, veterans and their families,” according to the team’s statement Thursday.
But Wells told the organization Wednesday not to expect him at the game, since he’s unable “in good conscience” to enter an NFL stadium where some players continue to “disrespect” the American flag by kneeling or sitting before or during the national anthem.
“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 said in a statement, according to the Times-Picayune. “Since this award is tainted with the dishonorable actions of the NFL and its players, I cannot accept it. To do so would be hypocritical.” (Read more from “Saints in Public Feud With Disabled Veteran Over Anthem Protests” HERE)