Local Lansing veteran weighs in on NFL controversy

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The controversy surrounding the NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem has caused division across the country.

Commander Donald Caswell, from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 701 on Lansing’s Westside says while he feels the actions of the NFL players is disrespectful to not only our country but to the American flag, he also says he doesn’t believe their intentions are to insult those who fought for our country.

“I think they do love their country,” said Caswell.

For 36 years, Caswell served in the U.S. Army fighting for our country and saluting the flag.

He says while he never thought he’d see the day where professional athletes kneel during the National Anthem, he ultimately feels indifferent to the situation.

“I don’t know the person so I can’t really say is he doing this all to be disrespectful or is he doing it out of respect the way he wants to treat it,” Caswell stated.

The controversy started in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem at a 49’ers game to protest police brutality.

Since then, athletes coast to coast have joined together to do the same.

Caswell says while professional athletes have the right to take a stand for their beliefs, it’s still disappointing.

“It kind of hurts, is the basic thing…it hurts…it hurts to see what is going on,” said Caswell.

While we can’t change what has unfolded, Caswell says it’s important we as a country continue to move forward.

“Sometimes they say you live day by day…but you just got to keep going forward and that’s the biggest factor,” Caswell stated.

Caswell also feels people have lost sight of what proper etiquette for the National Anthem entails.

He says people should stand up, place their hand across their heart or salute and remember those who fought and died for our country.

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