Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Coming off of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, in which we were all being patriotic Americans (and by that I mean shooting fireworks, cooking on the grill, going to the movies and baseball games, and taking long naps), Carolina Panthers' running back DeAngelo Williams displayed true patriotism. He shared on his Facebook and Twitter accounts Monday that he gave up his business class seat on his flight to a Marine.

On Facebook, DeAngelo added this caption to the photo: "He just doesn't know it yet but he will be sitting in this seat when he boards the plane. I always give up my 1st class seat! #isalutethetroops!"

And on Twitter, he remarked: "I always give up my seat to military if my seat is better! I truly appreciate our troops #flyingtherightway"

His public display of goodwill made the rounds on several national news outlets, pop culture websites, sports blogs, and, of course, Charlotte news, and was lauded by many on the social networking sites. But it was also met with criticism by some on social media who took issue with the NFL star being "showy" about his good deed. Love and hate comes with the territory on the Internet, so...

But the online comments also quickly took an unexpected turn. Many commenters said that DeAngelo had been duped by a faker because the so-called Marine's uniform display broke protocol:

"You don't wear shooting badges while displaying medals in the dress blue alpha uniform. Anyone with that much time in service would know better. Also looks like the silver and bronze star medals are incorrectly placed by precedence."

"I'm gonna be honest here. He looks like a "faker". I'm a Marine and he is wearing his cover indoors. NO MARINE WEARS THEIR COVER INDOORS. Something is fishy DeAngelo Williams, don't give up your seat to him!"

"That is a great thing to do, however, I am a Marine and that man is NOT! He is faking."

Perhaps the Marine in question, who appears to be an elderly man, will come forward to clear the air. Regardless, I hope this doesn't cause others to second-guess their kind gestures to servicemen and women in the future.

It should also be noted that actress Amy Adams made headlines a week earlier for giving up her first-class seat to a soldier. Except in this case, the notable deed was announced on social media by someone else--ESPN's Jemele Hill--who happened to witness the act.


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