PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Local veterans are speaking out about the recent protest by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. They said they don't respect his actions while they do recognize his right to free speech.
Kaepernick has refused to stand when the national anthem is played during NFL preseason games as a form of protest regarding police brutality. The player has already received backlash from fans and fellow players alike.
Richard Cruise, a World War II veteran, said he couldn't understand why a public figure like Kaepernick would take a stand like this in a way he felt would be disrespectful to the military.
"I had a real problem with it," he said. "I thought that was terrible for somebody of his stature, a prominent athlete would not honor our national anthem and our flag. Anybody's who a citizen of this country that refuses to do that, I just have no respect for them."
Lynn Huffman, a Korean War veteran, said he understood why Kaepernick would take such action and saw it as a form of freedom of expression. While he didn't agree with the way the player did it, he said it's his right as a citizen.
"Basically, you move on with it. It's just a political statement. It's his way of protesting that," he said.
Kaepernick did clarify that his protest was not meant to be disrespectful to the military. He merely wanted bring attention to the issue of police brutality.