NFL great John Elway on anthem protests: 'I'm one that really believes in standing for the flag'

Ex-NFL star and current Denver Broncos President John Elway waded into the current "Star-Spangled Banner" controversy Tuesday, saying he believes in standing for the national anthem and wants to keep politics out of football.

Elway, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and the president of football operations and general manager of the Broncos, made the remarks during his weekly interview on the Broncos website.

“I'm one that believes in standing for the national anthem, and I've always believed that," Elway said. "I believe that this is the greatest country in the world. We are very fortunate to live here, but it's obviously not perfect."

He added: "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 last week was a good show of unity by the NFL and hopefully this week we can move forward."

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Denver Broncos tight end Virgil Green (85) gestures as teammate Max Garcia, left, takes a knee during the paying of the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

About half of the Denver Broncos roster knelt or sat during the national anthem before the game.  (AP)

On Sunday, about half of the Broncos’ roster knelt or sat during the national anthem, The Associated Press reported. The amount of protests around the NFL multiplied this weekend following President Trump’s comments criticizing players who protest during "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Trump, speaking at a rally in Alabama Friday, said: “"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out! He's fired.”

Trump’s comments were criticized by a number of athletes. The Associated Press reported that more than 200 NFL players sat or knelt during the anthem Sunday.

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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the kneeling movement last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, refusing to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest the treatment of black people by police. Kaepernick became a free agent and has not been signed by a new team this season.

Vance Joseph, the Broncos head coach, also said he believed in standing for the flag but honored those who wanted to protest, the Denver Post reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.