NFL Owners Reportedly Believe Donald Trump Using Race to Divide Players, Fans

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 28: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a meeting with congressional leadership in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on November 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump spoke on the recent intercontinental ballistic missile launch by North Korea. Democratic leaders Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Re. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, skipped the meeting with President Trump. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

At least one National Football League owner reportedly believes United States President Donald Trump is "trying to destroy" the league with his repeated attacks on social media.

On Wednesday, Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman relayed a response from an NFL owner about Trump's comments directed at the league, which some owners think stem from the president's failed attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014.

"He's trying to destroy us. He's trying to use race to divide the players and our fans," the owner said. "It's all over a grudge."

Trump has consistently taken aim at the NFL for not punishing players who refuse to stand for the national anthem as a form of protest against racial injustice.

On Tuesday, Trump called the league "weak and out of control" in his latest comments on the NFL:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

At least 24 players kneeling this weekend at NFL stadiums that are now having a very hard time filling up. The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem. Weak and out of control!

Last week, he said Commissioner Roger Goodell had "lost control" of the situation:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Can you believe that the disrespect for our Country, our Flag, our Anthem continues without penalty to the players. The Commissioner has lost control of the hemorrhaging league. Players are the boss! https://t.co/udXP5MR8BC

The criticism began to ramp up in September when he suggested NFL owners should fire players who didn't stand during the anthem.

Meanwhile, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the protest movement during the 2016 preseason, filed a collective bargaining agreement grievance in October against NFL owners, arguing they have colluded not to sign him as a free agent.

The rift between the country's top sports league and the president comes at a time when the NFL's television ratings continue to slide, per Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Daily:

Austin Karp @AustinKarp

Sounding like a broken record already, but NFL overnight ratings slid again yesterday -- 3 of 4 windows. NBC's "Sunday Night Football" only one with a gain (+3%). Fox singleheader -9%, CBS regional window -8% and CBS national window -12%

On Wednesday, Jim Trotter and Jason Reid of ESPN.com reported the league made a proposal to players to contribute "at least $89 million over a seven-year period" to causes in African-American communities in an effort to end the protest movement.