Three weeks ago, President Trump expressed hope that an NFL owner will respond to a player kneeling for the national anthem by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field.” One of those owners, who also counts President Trump as a friend, previously called the remarks disappointing.
More recently, Patriots owner Robert Kraft expanded on his beliefs.
“I think there were some comments made about what our young men were doing that were a little inflammatory and inappropriate, and I thought I had to speak out,” Kraft told the BBC, via CBS Boston. “And I spoke to the team and I told them that they were free to do what they thought was correct. . . .
“The greatest enemy in sport is division from within. And I personally feel it’s very important to respect our flag and our anthem. But I also respect the right of people in this country to make statements or protests peacefully, in a way that’s appropriate to them.”
At a time when the NFL may be planning to provide the players with an alternate platform for raising social concerns while also requiring them to stand for the anthem, Kraft doesn’t sound like an owner who would support a mandate to stand. His voice instead could emerge as a counter to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has made it clear that his players will stand for the anthem or sit on the bench.