Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu didn’t want to get into religion or politics the week of the Super Bowl, but his boss didn’t mind wading into the fray.
Sanu, a Muslim, didn’t want to discuss president Donald Trump’s executive order which suspended entry of people from seven Muslim countries.
But Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who is Jewish, had other problems with the President. Blank told Bob Glauber of Newsday that he was troubled by a statement from Trump on Holocaust Remembrance Day last Friday which did not specifically mention the six million Jews who were killed during World War II.
“Obviously, it’s a tragic time in the history of the world, not only for Jewish individuals but for non-Jews as well,” Blank said. “And so I think it always deserves recognition, it always deserves to remind us of certain characteristics that can take place and to make sure they’re not seen in any form or fashion in any of our democracies or institutions around the world.”
But even beyond that particular moment, the growing divide in our country represents a disturbing trend in his view.
“I’m troubled by anything directionally in our country that separates people,” Blank said. “America started without any of us, other than Native American Indians. This country was built on inclusion and diversity, on celebration of those differences, supporting those differences, and everybody being the very best they can be in their own way. I’m opposed to anything that takes away from that.
“That’s what makes America great, is the melting pot of what makes this country great and the abilities and capacities and commitments to all those people that came from around the world to settle here because they saw a dream and a vision.”
While it was hardly impassioned rhetoric, Blank’s status as an owner rather than an employee — and a guy who doesn’t have to play a game Sunday — gives him the latitude to speak his mind a bit more freely.