Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Recording of NFL owners-players meeting reveals Trump criticism

Recording of NFL owners-players meeting reveals Trump criticism

US President Donald Trump applauds during the State Dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. AFP
US President Donald Trump applauds during the State Dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. AFP

Recording of NFL owners-players meeting reveals Trump criticism

NFL team owners were sharply critical of US President Donald Trump during a private meeting with players at the height of last season’s protest controversy, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

A leaked audio recording of a three-hour meeting between around 30 owners, players and league officials, which took place in New York last October, showed several team bosses voicing displeasure at Trump’s conduct.

Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots who is a long-time Trump friend and donor, accused the US president of “divisive and horrible” conduct.

Trump triggered uproar across the NFL last September when he described players who kneeled during the US national anthem to protest racial injustice as “sons of bitches”.

The protests had been started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 following the deaths of several unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement.

Following Trump’s criticism, a wave of protests swept the league, with many players kneeling in solidarity with Kaepernick, who has been unable to find a club since being released by the 49ers in early 2017.

During the October meeting, Kraft described the kneeling protests as “the elephant in the room”, the Times reported.

“The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America,” Kraft said. “It’s divisive and it’s horrible.”

‘Public Enemy No1’

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, meanwhile, said Trump’s presidency was “disastrous.”

“We’ve got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whomever else,” Lurie said. “We have to find a way to not be divided and not get baited.”

The subject of Kaepernick’s career had been raised at the meeting by players who attended, but most owners were non-committal, the Times reported.

Eagles lineman Chris Long told owners that the crisis might have been defused if a team had signed Kaepernick. Most players believed he was being frozen out of the sport, Long said.

“If he was on a roster right now, all this negativeness and divisiveness could be turned into a positive,” Long said.

“We all agree in this room as players that he should be on a roster.”

Meanwhile, Kaepernick’s former teammate Eric Reid, who was the first player to kneel alongside the quarterback, believed the 49ers star had been “hung out to dry”.

“Everyone in here is talking about how much they support us,” Reid told the meeting. “Nobody stepped up and said we support Colin’s right to do this. We all let him become Public Enemy No1 in this country, and he still doesn’t have a job.”
.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding