Local vets: Too many people died defending flag for players to disrespect it

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by: Erika Fernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 26, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Some local veterans are outraged by NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem, but others say it's a right they fought to uphold.

The latest demonstration came before Monday Night Football. Players from the Dallas Cowboys kneeled, and then stood and locked arms during the anthem. President Trump called that progress, but still said kneeling is disrespectful.

One veteran said it's the players' right to protest. Others said they should express your opinion with civility and respect, and they believe some of the players are crossing a line.

"I don't have to agree with it but it's your constitutional right, and if that's what you feel you must do, then by all means, do it," said Army veteran, John Pantoja.

Pantoja said he would never kneel during the national anthem, but he fought for people to have that right.

"They are free to do what they wish, as long as they're not infringing on anybody else's rights, then you won't hear any argument from me," Pantoja said.

Other veterans said they feel disrespected.

"Do it beforehand when you're assembled on the side. Show solidarity beforehand, but stand for the anthem. Stand for our country and what gave you the rights you have," said Air Force veteran, Bill Ferris.

Players have said it's not about the flag, it’s about equality. However, veterans like Bill Ferris aren't convinced.

"The flag isn’t about the country, per se. The flag is each individual. It represents everybody in America, and if you disrespect the flag, you're disrespecting everyone in America," Ferris said.

Some challenged those who kneel to take action.

"If you want to stand up and say that you are absolutely incensed by this, fine. Please, show me something that you're doing to effect the change," said Air Force veteran, Val Frailey.

Tennessee Titans player Delanie Walker said those who kneel aren't trying to disrespect those in the military, but instead showing they all care about each other. President Trump said its unpatriotic.

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