Elway: They felt that they had to go down and kneel and that's up to them."
Days after dozens of Broncos kneeled during the national anthem, Broncos president of football operations John Elway said he believes in standing for the anthem and hopes to "take the politics out of football."
Elway's full comments, which he gave to Broncos TV:
"I'm one that believes in standing for the National Anthem, and I've always believed that. I believe that this is the greatest country in the world. We are very fortunate to live here, but it's obviously not perfect. There are a lot of things that need to be corrected, and we will continue to work on those things. I'm one that really believes in standing for the flag. I understand the players and the way they felt from the comments that were made earlier in the week. They felt they had to go down and kneel and that's up to them. Hopefully as we go forward we can start concentrating on football a little bit more. Take the politics out of football. But I think that last week was a good show of unity by the NFL and hopefully this week we can move forward."
Von Miller and Demaryius Thomas were among the Broncos that kneeled during the national anthem, while other players linked arms. Protests were widespread across the NFL in Week 3 after Donald Trump said NFL owners should "fire" players who protest during the anthem and referred to a player who does as a "son of a b-----." His comments have been criticized by multiple NFL owners, players and the commissioner.
One player who stood tall during the anthem was defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, who said he does so to honor the military and asked why people stay in America if they do not think it is the best country on earth.
Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis struck a markedly different tone than Elway.
"Our players have shown a tremendous commitment to raising awareness for important societal issues by using their platform in a positive way,” Ellis said in a statement sent to Denver7.