Houston Texans star J.J. Watt stormed the field Monday night carrying an American flag for military appreciation day — but the two-time NFL defensive MVP did more than that to pay respect to the nation's military.
Watt turned to Facebook and penned a brutally honest note contrasting the differences between being a professional athlete and a member of the armed forces.
"We play a game. Yes, to many of us it is much more than a game, but at the end of the day it is just that, a game. It is not life or death. We are not going off to war, we are not putting our lives on the line, we are not protecting our country's freedom," he wrote. "But we are in the headlines, we become household names and we are often the role models that children look up to. I am not saying that it is right, but it is what it is."
Watt contended it was up to professional athletes to use their fame to honor those who have served.
[sharequote align="right"]"We play a game, we don't deserve the worship that we often receive. You do."[/sharequote]
"Therefore, when we get the opportunity, it is only right that we honor the true heroes of this county, the men & women who truly deserve the credit, the headlines and the recognition. That is why it is such an honor to carry this flag onto the field, to wear the camouflage gear, to visit with military members and take trips like the USO tour," he wrote. "Not because it looks cool (although I can't deny that it does), but because of what it represents. The hard work, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the lives lost, the families that have sacrificed, the men & women who lay absolutely everything on the line for this country and for our freedom. That is why days like yesterday are so special."
Watt concluded, "That is why we try to use our platform as athletes to honor and show our appreciation for the military. We play a game, we don't deserve the worship that we often receive. You do. So thank you, to every man and woman out there who has previously or is currently serving in our military. Also thank you to their families, who have sacrificed so much as well. You all are the true heroes. You are the ones who deserve the fanfare. Thank you."
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