Tom Brady Talks National Anthem Protests, Says He Respects Everyone's Opinions

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04:   Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on as he walks off the field against the Philadelphia Eagles during Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Eagles defeated the Patriots 41-33. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tom Brady
Focus On Sport/Getty Images

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady discussed a variety of topics in a question and answer session with Jim Gray at the Milken Institute on Monday, and the topic of protests during the national anthem came up.

Milken Institute fellow Curtis S. Chin provided a breakdown of his answer (h/t TMZ Sports):

🚶🏻Curtis S. Chin @CurtisSChin

Sports reporter Jim Gray. Q: Your feelings on the issue of kneeling for the National Anthem. @Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady. A: “You have to have respect for everyone’s opinions. … #Sports for me has been the most unifying part of my life. … Never forget that.” #MIGlobal https://t.co/IAS5ZIGOik

Players kneeling during the national anthem has been a divisive discussion over the past two years since Colin Kaepernick began the practice in 2016.

The issue reached its peak when president Donald Trump said the league should "fire or suspend" players who kneel during the anthem.

Brady had previously supported Trump as a friend but didn't defend the president after his comments in September.

"I certainly disagree with what he said," Brady said on Kirk & Callahan, via Ryan Hannable of WEEI. "I thought it was just divisive."

Earlier that month, the 40-year-old noted the whole issue wasn't really at the forefront of his mind.

"I don’t really pay attention to that," he said, per Hannable. "Probably a lot of things for me to think about at that time. I haven’t thought about that much."

While it might not have concerned the Patriots star, the rest of the league has been struggling to resolve the situation. A select group of owners and players discussed the protests during a meeting in October, which featured a lot of talk about Trump himself.

Perhaps a unifying message from one of the league's biggest stars in Brady will help limit the divisiveness going forward.