NFL owners speak out in support of players, against Trump – Orange County Register

By DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Pro Football Writer

The NFL’s players and owners have united in a manner unseen in years in the nation’s most popular professional sports league, sounding a resolute chord in decrying President Donald Trump’s remarks about players kneeling during the national anthem.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who’s been a strong supporter of the president, expressed “deep disappointment” with Trump on Sunday and said politicians could learn much from the unifying spirit of a competitive enterprise like professional football that succeeds from teamwork.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace, from left, former player Ray Lewis and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley lock arms and kneel down during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday Sept. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President …,” Kraft said in a statement. “Our players are intelligent, thoughtful, and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the treatment of black people by police. Kaepernick became a free agent and has not been signed by a new team for this season.

Without naming Kaepernick, Trump aimed a Friday talk at a Huntsville, Alabama, rally at those players who have knelt for the anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,’” he said to loud applause.

Again in a Sunday morning tweet, Trump urged his supporters to take action: “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”

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