Former talk show host Montel Williams teared up during a discussion of the past weekend’s NFL protests.
On Tuesday, Williams—who spent 22 years in the Marine Corps and Navy—appeared on the morning news program “Great Day Washington.” He came to the defense of NFL players who partook in the #taketheknee movement.
“We’re all acting like we’re upset because someone seems to have offended you patriotically,” Williams said. “The majority of people I hear opening their mouths―they didn’t put a uniform on their back … So how dare you disrespect those who have been shot for freedom of speech by telling people to shut up?”
Williams then addressed the people who have criticized the players for exercising their right to free speech while on the field and claim it’s disrespectful.
“In the history of television, I’m the only person to put the U.S. flag in the middle of their set,” he said. “That was the flag I’m going to be buried in. But I respect your right to disagree any way you choose to.”
“Our Constitution confirmed that you can burn a flag,” the 61-year-old continued as he began to tear up. “How dare we not allow people to get down on their knees and pray that this country wakes up?”
“I’m sorry, but I see a lot of people opening their big mouths on television,” he continued. “But their family didn’t serve. They didn’t let their children serve.”