New Orleans Saints

Navy veteran declines to receive ‘tainted’ award at Saints game over player protests

The Advocate

John Wells
John Wells

Due to months of controversy over players kneeling or sitting during the national anthem before NFL games, a Navy veteran has said would not be accepting an award during any Saints game.

John Wells, a disabled veteran and executive director of Military Veterans Advocacy, was slated to receive the Peoples Health Champion award during last week’s game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Chicago Bears.

“Although I am touched and honored to be selected for such an award, the ongoing controversy with NFL players’ disrespect for the national flag forces me to decline to participate in the presentation,” wrote Wells, according to the release. “I am unable, in good conscience, to enter an NFL stadium while this discourtesy prevails. Since this award is tainted with the dishonorable actions of the NFL and its players, I cannot accept it.”

The Peoples Health Champion program recognizes the “exceptional achievements” of Louisiana residents of ages 65 and older, according to its website. Each recipient is typically honored on the field at the Superdome during Saints games.

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