Veterans and their family members yesterday protested the NFL yesterday — even as its players refrained from controversial anthem demonstrations during Veterans Day Weekend that have become synonymous with the season.

“This is America, they have the right to kneel and stay in the locker room,” said Lynn Patton of Bristol, R.I., whose son Army Sgt. Matthew Scott Patton, an Afghan war veteran, was 23 when he committed suicide in May 2013.

“They’re disrespecting those who have served so they can make their money throwing and catching a ball for millions of dollars,” added Patton, who carried the flag that lay over her son’s casket. She called NFL players who have knelt during the national anthem “clueless, overpaid babies.”

Patton and others attended an NFL protest yesterday at the VFW Mottolo Post in Revere, where veterans were honored. Guest speakers expressed their views on what the national anthem and American flag mean to them in what they called a “teachable moment.”

The event was hosted by the nonprofit Veterans Assisting Veterans.

Veterans and their family members who spoke to the Herald yesterday said they have stopped watching games and buying NFL products.

“They know very well they are hurting families that have served,” said Karen Lounsbury of Cambridge. Lounsbury’s son Army, Pfc. Bryan Lounsbury, was 18 in 2008 when he was killed after being struck by a vehicle while two of his friends drag-raced in Texas, while he was based at Fort Hood. “My son came home in a box with the flag draped over it. I support their right to protest, but it still hurts,” she said.

As of early yesterday evening, news outlets were incorrectly reporting there were no instances of players kneeling during the anthem.

As of Sunday afternoon, only three players — the San Francisco 49ers’ Eric Reid and Marquise Goodwin and the New York Giants’ Olivier Vernon — had refused to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” That was down from 15 players the week before, according to the ESPN tally. – Washington Times

The NFL players’ union passed a resolution calling for a moment of silence during yesterday’s games in honor of Veterans Day.

Joe Abasciano, a Marine veteran who served multiple tours in Iraq, said the player protests have “saddened” him and he wishes players would protest at a “different time.”

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Curtis Boucher, 20, of Lowell said his grandfather served in World War II and his uncle in Vietnam. He said the flag was “revered” in his home.

“When they started with the protests, I shut it off immediately,” Boucher said, adding that NFL players “have the resources to really make a difference. It’s a shame they’re not using it in the right way.”


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