As the NFL world digs in against President Donald Trump, many have pushed back with strong statements, including some who have long been considered supporters or friends of the president.
Tom Brady, who has previously called Trump “a good friend,” is the latest to criticize the president’s comments calling for players who protest during the national anthem to be “fired.” Brady was a guest on WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” show when he was asked about the president’s comments.
“I certainly disagree with what he said,” Brady said. “I thought it was just divisive. 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.”
During a rally in Alabama on Friday, Trump criticized NFL players who protest the national anthem, saying he wished NFL owners would “fire” the players and say “Get that son of a b—- off the field right now.”
Brady stood arm-in-arm with a teammate during the national anthem on Sunday, with his hand over his heart and his head bowed.
Brady’s comments come after several other Trump supporters in the NFL world had harsh criticism for the president.
On Sunday, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, two owners who supported Trump during the election, released statements condemning the president’s attack on players.
“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the president on Friday,” Kraft said. “I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities.”
Khan, who donated $1 million to Trump’s campaign, also stood arm-in-arm with Jaguars players during the anthem prior to their game in London.
“Our team and the National Football League reflects our nation, with diversity coming in many forms – race, faith, our views and our goals,” Khan said. “We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it, but the comments by the President make it harder.”
Former NFL head coach and current ESPN commenter Rex Ryan had even stronger words. Ryan supported Trump during the election and even introduced him during one rally.
“I’m pissed off,” Ryan said on ESPN. “I’ll be honest with you. Because I supported Donald Trump. When he asked me to introduce him at a rally in Buffalo, I did that. But I’m reading these comments and it’s appalling to me and I’m sure it’s appalling to almost any citizen in our country. It should be.”