Taking a knee: Local veteran and former NFL player weigh in

What started with one player is now turning into hundreds kneeling or staying in the locker room during the national anthem.

“My initial thoughts were that's his complete right to do that and it's something I fought for,” said local Vietnam veteran Gary May.

He agrees with the players.

“Article I of the Bill of Rights said everybody has the right to free speech,” said May,

He says veterans took an oath to defend that free speech.

“Then how are they right now after all these years later saying that was wrong or I was wrong or that doesn't count,” said May.

Former NFL player Marty Amsler disagrees with the players.

“It's very embarrassing and you should have some loyalty but you shouldn't act like that,” said Amsler.

Saying during his time with the NFL, the thought of not standing was unheard of.

“We knew exactly what we were supposed to do, We stood in a straight line on the sidelines, put our hand across our chest and held our helmet down to our side and everybody did that there was no question,” said Amsler.

Both agree that President Trump's comments this past week were inappropriate.

“He made the problem worse,” said May.

“He needs to do more governing of this great country of ours than worry about whether people stand up for the national anthem,” said Amsler.

May says he understands why veterans are upset over the disrespect, but calls on them to remember the pledge they took when enlisting.

“There's nothing in the pledge that says you have to agree with everybody else. But by God you did say you would defend everybody's right. It's time to do it,” said May.

Eyewitness News also reached out to USI and UE about what their teams will do during the anthem.

We did not hear back from UE but USI declined to comment

(This article was originally published September 25, 2017)


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