A slew of NFL owners and head coaches released statements Saturday after President Donald Trump called for players who have protested social injustice during the national anthem to be cut by their respective teams.
ESPN's Adam Schefter relayed remarks from Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who said he believes the United States "needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness."
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross weighs in on President Trump’s comments: https://t.co/WnhQ7drTwe2017-9-23 21:27:27
The Atlanta Falcons released a statement from owner Arthur Blank:
Atlanta Falcons @AtlantaFalcons
Statement from Arthur Blank: https://t.co/20DH3DHc4e2017-9-23 22:45:29
Philadelphia Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie released a statement:
Philadelphia Eagles @Eagles
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and Seattle Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin did the same:
Indianapolis Colts @Colts
Statement from #Colts Owner @JimIrsay on recent events: https://t.co/pqS5AoGG1A2017-9-24 02:33:44
Seattle Seahawks @Seahawks
A statement from Seahawks President Peter McLoughlin https://t.co/vGzMj0TFmz2017-9-24 02:40:37
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll also gave his thoughts:
Pete Carroll @PeteCarroll
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians also offered words of support for his players and praised NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his statement.
"I thought the commissioner had a great statement and I agree with it," he said, per ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss. "I've been in locker rooms for 25 years, and some of the most reputable men I've ever met wear that uniform and to even get to overcome the things in their life to get to the NFL is amazing. What they've done in the last month for hurricane relief victims speaks volumes of what we're all about in the NFL. And I'll just leave it in that."
"I wholeheartedly agree with the commissioner's statement," Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos said, per Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "The NFL and its players, more than anything, have been a force for good. What our country needs right now is a message of unity, civility and mutual respect."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy passed along Goodell's complete statement:
Brian McCarthy @NFLprguy
New NFL statement https://t.co/XHPgVvPPfH2017-9-23 13:16:43
Goodell's statement was issued Saturday morning after Trump referred to a player who "disrespects our flag" as a "son of a b---h."
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b---h off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired,'" Trump said, per CNN's Brian Stelter. "You know, some owner is going to do that. He's going to say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it [but] they'll be the most popular person in this country."
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York proceeded to call those comments "callous and offensive" in a post on Twitter:
Jed York @JedYork
New York Giants owner John Mara echoed York's sentiment, referring to Trump's remarks as "inappropriate, offensive and divisive," according to ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan.
"We are proud of our players, the vast majority of whom use their NFL platform to make a positive difference in our society," Mara added.
"I believe the commissioner made an appropriate statement and I have nothing to add at this time," Steelers owner Art Rooney II said, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com.
Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy said it was "unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL."
"We strongly believe that players are leaders in our communities and positive influences," Murphy added. "They have achieved their positions through tremendous work and dedication and should be celebrated for their success and positive impact. 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."
Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk later said she was "proud to stand with our players and support them in their work on and off the football field."
"I completely agree with Commissioner Goodell that we are better off as a nation when we are unified and pulling together," Strunk added. "I have seen that kind of attitude firsthand in Tennessee and across our country in the many benevolent and public-spirited efforts of our NFL players, often without any public recognition."