Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe explained Sunday that he will not be kneeling during the national anthem because “paying tribute to the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom is why I stand.”

Wolfe, in comments to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, added, “Everyone these days likes to find a reason to protest and that’s their right.”

Protesters in the league have pointed out that they kneel or sit to raise awareness of social injustice and police brutality and that they support the military, but Wolfe, 27, spoke of those who serve in the military.

“I stand because I respect the men who died in real battle so I have the freedom to battle on the field. 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.

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“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 like I said, to each their own. It’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? A lot worse places in the world to call home. Proud to be an American.”

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