Ohio judge slams Cleveland Browns players for protesting during national anthem

Ohio judge slams Cleveland Browns players for protesting during national anthem
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Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill is criticizing a group of Cleveland Browns players who protested during the national anthem at an NFL preseason game, calling them "draft dodging millionaire athletes." 

"I will NEVER attend a sporting event where the draft dodging millionaire athletes disrespect the veterans who earned them the right to be on that field," O'Neill said in a Tuesday Facebook post.

O’Neill, a Vietnam veteran, also touted his family’s military service.

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"Shame on you all. William O'Neill, LTC, US Army, Retired. Vietnam veteran; son of a World II veteran; proud father of an Iraq veteran," he added.

Before a game on Monday, 12 Browns players, mostly African-Americans, kneeled in prayer during the anthem. The players said they wanted to make a statement after the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., at a white supremacist rally.

Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey told a Fox News affiliate Tuesday that the group was not trying to disrespect the military. 

“Respect to all the veterans, respect to the military — we are not protesting against them. We have our reasons for doing what we did, and last night felt like the right time to do it, and that’s why we did it,” he said. 

Last season, then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked controversy by kneeling during the anthem.

The last U.S. military draft ended in 1973 as American involvement in the Vietnam War drew down. Male American citizens and male non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 still must register with the Selective Service System in the event of a draft.