Tom Brady Greets Military Before Falcons Game

Before the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in their Super Bowl rematch, Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, took some time to greet the military members that were on hand for the game.

According to CBS Sports, 200 military members got to attend the game as guests of the Patriots, which was the idea of long snapper, Joe Cardona, who is a member of the U.S. Navy.

The military members, who were on the field before the game, received high-fives from Brady and wide receiver Chris Hogan.

“Joe [Cardona] really started that and the team really jumped in,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “We’re happy to have them here. Obviously proud of the job they do for us and give us the opportunity to do what we do. It will be a great night to recognize them and they certainly deserve it. They’re the real heroes.”

“It’s a number that far exceeded expectations,” Cardona told ESPN. “It was a collaborative effort. I was talking to Matt Slater, we were thinking of ways to reach out, especially to our local military community, and show how much we value them. My point of view was, ‘Let’s give these men and women the experience of coming to a big game.’ Let’s get them a personal feel, them being our personal guests, guests of the team.”

Cordona added that he felt the gesture was mutually beneficial.

“One percent of the population in the United States raises their hand and swears to protect and defend the constitution,” Cardona added. “With such a small number of people serving now in our great, all-volunteer force, it’s become more of a divide between the civilian world and military world. So one personal goal of mine is to bridge that gap and also the narrow divide and mentality between a war fighter and a professional athlete where performance is so important. Also, the brotherhood between those of us in the locker room is very similar to those many units around the country that are serving all over the world.”

In the past few weeks, U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been critical of NFL players who have been kneeling before the national anthem, saying they were being disrespectful to the flag and the country.

Trump even went as far as to ask owners to fire players that refuse to stand during the anthem, which drew the ire of both the players and the owners, who went on to demonstrate their unity by kneeling and locking arms together before the anthem.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the owners would rather have everyone stand for the anthem, but the NFL wouldn’t punish those that refuse to. Goodell and the owners have also said they are open to helping the players with their social causes.

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players,” Goodell said.

The move by the Patriots shows that NFL players do care about the military and their protests aren’t about disrespecting the men and women who serve in the military.

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