NFL Owner Called Trump’s Criticism of Anthem Protests ‘Divisive’ and ‘Horrible’

Around 30 NFL owners, players, and executives convened at an October 2017 meeting, where they discussed President Donald Trump's criticism of players kneeling during the national anthem, according to a recording of the confidential meeting obtained by The New York Times. Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long said early on in the meeting that the players “all agree in this room as players that [Colin Kaepernick] should be on a roster.” The players felt that Kaepernick, who started the anthem protests, was being “blackballed” by owners. The group spoke at length about players kneeling—which made many league fans angry—and Trump’s criticism of the protests. “The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America,” said New England Patriots owner and Trump supporter Robert K. Kraft. “It’s divisive and it’s horrible.” Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie called Trump's presidency “disastrous.” “We’ve got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whomever else,” he said. “We have to find a way to not be divided and not get baited.” Houston Texans owner Bob McNair asked for the players present to tell their teammates to “stop that other business” of kneeling.