By Melissa Garcia
THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – A veteran in Thornton is donating thousands of dollars in Broncos gear after dozens of players on the team kneeled during the national anthem at Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
Prior to the game, President Donald Trump criticized players who took a knee on the sideline.
Thirty-two Denver Broncos kneeled Sunday in a large-scale protest.
More than 100 NFL players participated in the display against Trump’s comments asking the league to fire players who do not stand during the anthem. Some players locked arms and others stood with their hands on teammates shoulders.
“He has to know that what he said is not going to make people want to stand,” linebacker Brandon Marshall told reporters.
The NFL’s CEO Joe Ellis on Saturday issued a statement saying the organization could not be more proud of its players.
President Trump tweeted in response Sunday, saying “sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their national anthem or their country. NFL should change policy!”
As a result of the sideline protest, some longtime Broncos fans turned their back on their home team.
Jerry Lauritzen, a disabled Air Force Veteran who lives in Thornton, started by taking down the Broncos flags outside of his home.
“I shut the game off,” an infuriated Lauritzen told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “I feel (kneeling during the anthem) was disrespectful to everybody… You don’t have to come and thank me. Every person I see standing up there, I believe is saying, ‘thank you Jerry. I appreciate your time serving.’”
Marshall, who took a knee ahead of seven games last season, said he was protesting social injustice in America.
Lauritzen Sunday made his own statement, clearing his closets and shelves of all of the Broncos memorabilia that he had collected since 1964.
“What people spend to support these teams, and these (players) can’t have enough respect to stand up,” he said.
Lauritzen planned to donate all of his jerseys, coats and other Broncos gear to a used clothing store.