It isn’t a secret that Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Donald Trump are friends. But Kraft wasn’t willing to stick up for his friend at the 2017 NFL summit.
TMZ Sports released audio on Friday of Kraft ripping Trump for his comments on NFL players who protested the national anthem.
“The elephant in the room now in my opinion is this kneeling, which every player has a right to do if they feel it’s right,” Kraft told owners, players, and league executives at the summit. “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.”
“It’s divisive and it’s horrible. And it’s actually the opposite of what you all [the players] are trying to do,” Kraft added.
Kraft’s criticism of the president came a month after Trump said at a rally that he’d like to see NFL owners tell players who protested the anthem to “get that son of a b—- off the field.”
“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the president,” Kraft said in a statement following the president’s remarks in September 2017.
The summit was called after owners felt that the league had taken a public relations hit. Kraft directed blame at Trump for causing fans to view the league and its players in a bad light.
“We’ve lost the message to America because there’s just 40 percent of the people who see this (through) their own bigotry or misunderstanding,” Kraft said. “That feeds into it.”