Vincent and Diana Bonacasa , the parents of Louis Michael Bonacasa, who was killed by a suicide bomber while on his fourth tour in the Middle East, stood in the CNN townhall, which had a panel including Lee, to ask him directly about the protests NFL players have executed and their refusal to stand for the National Anthem.
Vincent Bonacasa began:
Last Sunday our community had a celebration for Gold Star parents. It was very humbling ceremony. But it brought us back to the day we lost our son. It was a very empty feeling. We came home, turned on the TV, and there was the NFL players on their knees, that was a slap in the face to us.
So my question was: how do you support these multi-millionaires on their knees and don’t support what the fallen heroes died for?
Sir, I’m very sorry for your loss, but the narrative that you spoke about is not true. All these players have said, many many times that they respect the armed forces. They respect the flag. And they respect America. And this narrative that when they take a knee, it’s insulting your son who is no longer here, is not true. They’ve said that again, and again, and again.
CNN moderator Anderson Cooper broke in, “But there’s a lot of people who look at this as disrespectful.”
Lee responded, “A lot of people thought what, in the ’68 Olympics, (this is why I’m wearing this shirt) John Carlos and Tommie Smith, when they won the Olympics, they put the black fist up. A lot of people thought that was –” He stopped, uncertain how to continue.
Bonacasa stepped in: “Excuse me I have one other question.When North Korea aims a missile at us, are these football players gonna be on their knees? Or are they gonna support our veterans?”
Lee: “Say that again?”
Bonacasa repeated, “When North Korea aims a nuclear missile at us, are these heroes, that you say, NFL, that can’t support our flag, are they gonna be on their knees when this happens, or are they gonna support our veterans?”
Lee, shifting the subject, “Sir, I’m worried just as much [about] Donald Trump as that crazy guy in North Korea. And he has the nuclear codes, I’m worried about that!”
During the CNN broadcast, Lee hyped the NFL protests, asserting that there will be further protests from the NFL players, and calling the protests a “battle of wills” between President Trump and the NFL players.
Video of Gold Star parents and Lee below: