Robert Kraft: Donald Trump 'Divisive and Horrible' on Anthem Protests in 2017

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 19:  New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (C) delivers remarks during an event celebrating the team's Super Bowl win hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump on the South Lawn at the White House April 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. It was the team's fifth Super Bowl victory since 1960.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft called President of the United States Donald Trump's opposition to NFL players' protest against social injustice "divisive" and "horrible" during an NFL owners summit in 2017.

"The problem we have is, we have a President that will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don't feel is in the best interest of the matter," Kraft said in audio obtained by TMZ Sports. "It's divisive and it's horrible. And, it's actually the opposite of what you all are trying to do."

Those comments reportedly came approximately one month after President Trump said in September 2017 he would love to see an NFL owner say, "Get that son of a b---h off the field" to any player who "disrespects our flag":

Kraft responded by issuing a statement to express he was "deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments":

New England Patriots @Patriots

Statement from #Patriots Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft: https://t.co/f5DJeK0Woj

During the 2016 preseason, then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the first NFL player to actively protest social injustice by remaining seated for the national anthem. He did, however, adjust course and decided to kneel rather than sit after a conversation with a military member.

Some players around the league subsequently joined Kaepernick, resulting in a feud between President Trump and the NFL.

At the owners summit in 2017, Kraft said that kneeling is something "every player has a right to do if they feel it's right."

In May 2018, the NFL implemented a policy that requires league personnel to stand while on the sideline or remain in the locker room. That policy was shelved in July 2018.


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