Beaver Local grad and Broncos player Derek Wolfe talks anthem protests

Wolfe sent a statement to ESPN, saying he believes players should stand for the anthem

FILE - This is a July 25, 2014, file photo, showing Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe during a morning training session at the team's NFL football training camp in Englewood, Colo. Derek Wolfe will miss the first month of the season after being suspended by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances. Wolfe said in a statement he took medicine this offseason that he didn't realize was prohibited by the NFL. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - This is a July 25, 2014, file photo, showing Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe during a morning training session at the team's NFL football training camp in Englewood, Colo. Derek Wolfe will miss the first month of the season after being suspended by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances. Wolfe said in a statement he took medicine this offseason that he didn't realize was prohibited by the NFL. (AP Photo/File)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBN) – Beaver Local High School graduate and Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe released a statement Sunday about NFL players protesting during the National Anthem.

Wolfe sent a statement to ESPN, saying he believes players should stand for the anthem. He also explained why he chooses to stand, saying, “I respect the men who died in real battles so I have the freedom to battle on the field.”

In addition, Wolfe said he understands players are “free to speak your mind,” before adding, “to each their own.”

Here’s Wolfe’s entire statement:

“I stand because I respect the men who died in real battles 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. 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 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.”

After the Broncos’ loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Wolfe spoke more on the subject, telling reporters, “I come from poverty. For me, it’s not a black and white thing — it’s a rich and poor thing. The social injustices are always toward the less fortunate. People who don’t have money are the ones who are looked down upon because they’re on government assistance.”

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