A number of NFL teams and owners have offered statements this weekend in response to President Donald Trump’s calls for them to fire players who protest during the national anthem.
Some of the statements have taken direct issue with the President’s comments, including one from Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy. Murphy said it is “unfortunate” that President Trump chose to make “divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL.”
“We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.”
Some other teams avoided direct criticism of the President’s comments while echoing Murphy’s comments about supporting their players when they speak out.
“As an organization, we could not be more proud, appreciative and grateful for our players. We’ll continue to support them and work together to advocate for values of respect, diversity and inclusion,” Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement complimenting their “tremendous commitment to raising awareness for important societal issues by using their platform in a positive way.”
“We fully support our players’ use of their freedom of speech and peaceful action to highlight the existing racial and other divides in our country. Our players completely respect the military and veterans of our country; however, they believe these issues need to come to the forefront,” Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin said.
“Our game has long provided a powerful platform for dialogue and positive change in many communities throughout our nation,” Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford said. “Thanks primarily to our players, the NFL also has been a unifying force in our country and impactful change has and hopefully will continue to be the result of peaceful expression, done so in order to highlight social injustices of all kind. Negative and disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country, and we do not support those comments or opinions.”