At first glance, it seems amazing that USA Today, a hardcore advocate for Colin Kaepernick and NFL protesters, gave space to anyone opposing disrespectful behavior. However, the story recognizing a retired military officer who declined an award at this weekend's New Orleans Saints' game in deference to NFL protests was actually written by a news reporter from another media outlet. USA Today more typically advocates in favor of the NFL's social justice warriors who are disrespecting the flag, veterans and police officers.
Paul Murphy, a reporter with Eyewitness News WWLTV.com, wrote of Commander John Wells' decision to decline acceptance of the Peoples Health Champion award for exceptional achievements after age 65. He was invited to accept the honor at this weekend's New Orleans' Saints football game. As Murphy explains ...
"I admire them for what they're doing," Wells said. "I admire the award. I'm just sorry that the circumstances are such that I could not ethically accept it."
Wells added he won't walk into an NFL stadium while players continue to protest during the national anthem.
Commander Wells is a disabled veteran who acknowledges the players have the right to protest, but they are dishonoring the military and the flag in doing so. Murphy quoted him saying, "They can do it. They have that right, no question. I've got the right to turn it off. I got the right to not go into an NFL stadium and I have the right to decline the award."
Wells said, "I would be more than happy to go in and sit down with the players and explain my point of view. There are some things that we need to look at. Dishonoring the flag and the anthem is not the way to do it."
The Peoples Health Champions program, a Medicare Advantage company, has collaborated with the Saints to recognize 138 Louisiana citizens since 2003. The organization issued a statement saying: "We will honor Cmdr. John Wells' request to decline the recognition. Given the time constraints, there will not be a new Peoples Health Champion recognized during the game on Sunday, Nov. 5.
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While Wells places principle ahead of personal gain, the Saints' football club went negative and called his decision "sad and divisive." The team's 552-word statement, following in part below, fits closely with the left-wing narrative championed by USA Today and other media claiming the protests are about social justice and equality, not about disrespecting the flag and veterans:
Unfortunately, he has chosen very publicly not to accept this honor and refused the opportunity to promote the very cause for which he was being honored and distract from awareness we hoped to build throughout our community. We respect his decision, he has that right, and we thank him for his service to our country and his past efforts on behalf of the military and veterans.
Throughout Mr. Wells' media appearances today, he has stated he no longer supports NFL football. That is unfortunate and disappointing considering the New Orleans Saints' unwavering 50-plus year commitment to honor, support and recognize our servicemen and women and veterans. We will not allow Mr. Wells' decision and subsequent media appearances to distract our players and organization from continuing to honor and support our military and veterans. We, as an organization, have decided to move on from this sad and divisive discourse and focus our attention on supporting our military and veterans. In lieu of honoring Mr. Wells, we will use the time allotted for the Peoples Health Champion Award to highlight non-political military advocacy programs and encourage our fans and community to join us in contributing to these groups who directly support our military and veterans.
Our players have chosen to stand for our National Anthem out of respect for the flag, our servicemen and women and veterans in every game since our inception in 1967 with the exception of one game -- the Week Three game at Carolina when a few of our players did sit. We could not be more proud of the work our players do in the community and with our military, arguably a model program in the league. Our players have been clear and steadfast in their support for our military and veterans -- not just with their words but with their actions -- including visits with the military at home and abroad.
No doubt the Saints and their players have done some good deeds in the community. But belittling Commander Wells while bragging of their exploits is no way to win friends and influence enemies. Not at a time when the NFL's business and popularity are flagging. The same holds true for the objectivity-challenged SJW's at USA Today.