Denver Broncos president of football operations John Elway said Tuesday that while he understands why players on his team decided to kneel for the national anthem Sunday, he "believes in standing for the flag" and wants to "start concentrating on football a little bit more."
The Broncos' Twitter account relayed Elway's complete statement:
Denver Broncos @Broncos
President of Football Ops/GM John Elway to @BroncosTV on players’ National Anthem statements: https://t.co/Q6F9rszh4x2017-9-26 23:25:52
According to the Denver Post's Nicki Jhabvala, 32 Broncos players—including linebackers Von Miller and Brandon Marshall—kneeled for the national anthem prior to Sunday's 26-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills following President Donald Trump's "son of a bitch" remarks at a rally in Alabama.
"I felt like we all took it personally," Marshall said, per the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla. "Even the guys that haven't kneeled before, and didn't even really think about kneeling before, took it personal. And they wanted to demonstrate as well."
Not joining Marshall in the protest was defensive end Derek Wolfe, who told ESPN's Josina Anderson before Sunday's game that he felt kneeling was disrespectful.
"Paying tribute to the men and women is why I stand. But everyone these days likes to find a reason to protest and that's their right," Wolfe said. "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."
Broncos Joe Ellis said he supported his players in the aftermath of Trump's comments.
"I'm really proud of our players and everything they do," Ellis said. "They're a great bunch of guys. They're not dividers, they’re uniters."