Of the 32 NFL owners, few are perceived as being closer to President Trump than Patriots owner Robert Kraft. As a result, many have been waiting to see whether Kraft will respond to the President’s verbal assault on players who would choose to protest during the anthem.
“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday,” Kraft said in a statement issued by the Patriots. “I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger. There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal. Our players are intelligent, thoughtful, and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”
Kraft’s statement specifically target the profane remarks from Friday night, when President Trump used the phrase “son of a bitch” in reference to any player who protests during the anthem. President Trump has since posted several messages on Twitter, urging the NFL to force players to stand and to fire those who don’t, ridiculing Commissioner Roger Goodell’s effort to “justify” the behavior, and telling fans not to attend games until all players stand.