New England Patriots quarterback and President Trump’s longtime friend Tom Brady said Monday that the president’s criticism of national anthem protesters in the NFL is only further dividing the nation.
Mr. Brady, who linked arms with teammates to show unity during the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, said he “certainly” disagrees with Mr. Trump’s comments that protesting NFL players should be fired.
“Yeah, I certainly disagree with what he said. I thought it was just divisive,” Mr. Brady said on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” radio show. “Like I said, I just want to support my teammates. I am never one to say, ‘Oh, that is wrong. That is right.’ I do believe in what I believe in. I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me. That is how I try and live every day.
“The one thing about football is it brings so many guys together — guys you would never have the opportunity to be around,” he said. “Whether it was in college, and all the way into the pros. We’re all different, we’re all unique. That is what makes us all special.”
More than a dozen Patriots players kneeled during the national anthem before Sunday’s game, a decision Mr. Brady said he respected. Mr. Brady said he heard fans booing the kneeling players, and that they deserved the right to be heard, too.
“I think everyone has a right to do whatever they want to do,” he said. “If you don’t agree with it, that’s fine, you can voice your disagreement; I think that’s great. It’s part of our democracy, as long as it’s done in a peaceful, respectful way. That’s what this country has been all about.”
Mr. Trump on Friday night criticized NFL players who kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” telling a crowd in Huntsville, Alabama: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!’ “
The president tweeted approval of the Patriots‘ arm-locking demonstration in a tweet Sunday afternoon.
Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
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