The New Orleans Saints fired back at a retired Navy commander who declined to receive an award at this Sunday’s game at the Superdome due to NFL player protests.
John Wells said in a statement that while he’s “touched and honored” by the award, he can’t accept it because of “NFL players’ disrespect for the national flag.” The Peoples Health Champion Award is for those who’ve made significant accomplishments after reaching the age of 65. Wells is executive director of Military Veterans Advocacy in Slidell, Louisiana.
“I am unable, in good conscience, to enter an NFL stadium while this discourtesy prevails,” he said, adding that the award is “tainted with the dishonorable actions of the NFL and its players” and to accept it would be “hypocritical.”
“I had hoped and prayed that the NFL would outlaw these disgraceful protests and wanted to give the Commissioner and the owners a fair opportunity to do so,” Wells added. “Their failure to act is a slap in the face to all of those who have served in uniform. Men and women have fought and died for the flag that the players are disrespecting.”
Wells didn’t specifically call out the Saints or any other team in his statement, only the league in general.