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.

(credit: CBS)

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.

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“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.

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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.’”

Jerry Lauritzen (credit: CBS)

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.

(credit: CBS)

“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.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

Comments (6)
  1. I support the BRONCOS!! I support free speech and peaceful protest. True Americans who believe in our freedom, our constitution know that the very act of kneeling is what men and women died for. They didn’t fight and die for a song, a flag, they did it so people could always protest injustice, the government. You may not like how or where people protest but you should celebrate that they can. This is not about a flag, an anthem, don’t be fooled by trump. His ego was bruised when Stephen Curry said no. Like a child he is lashing out, spewing propaganda. What he should be doing is taking a knee until the police stop shooting unarmed black men.

  2. Thank you, Jerry, for all you’ve done.

  3. I too just took my “Denver Broncos” stuff to Goodwill!!

  4. I’m not a big fan myself, but my three adult children are huge fans. I have given them bronco coats, sweaters, hats, socks, gloves, a big metal poster, mugs, etc. While the players have the right to show disdain for our country, I have the right to stop giving bronco gifts for Christmas and birthdays.

  5. Lee Schrock says:

    Fully agree. The players have chosen to have a wacky political agenda instead of supporting their fans. So be it. As a vet I am greatly offended by their behavior. We will no longer watch, support their “team”, or any of their sponsors. Lets see how the NFL and the Broncos do as a political organization on their own.

  6. Joel Kay says:

    I salute you sir, You are a true Patriot for standing up like this. This is a complete outrage.

    Today was also Goldstar Mothers Day. The American Flag is all they have left of their son or daughter giving the ultimate sacrifice to this country. Let these overpaid “offended” idiots play their silly little game.

    Coach Vance Joseph stated in the article he would have their backs if they decided to take a knee. Half the Bronco team took a knee. F-them.

    In the link below you will see #25 Chris Harris actually laughing while kneeling.

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