As President Donald Trump began his Sunday by tweeting out attacks on the National Football League and its players for “disrespecting our Flag & Country [sic]” — his third consecutive day of such outbursts — criticism continued to come in not just from players but from team owners as well. And while Trump urged fans to boycott the league, even one of his closest friends denounced him for his tone.
Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, donated $1 million to help fund Trump’s inauguration and attended his wedding to Melania Trump. Trump has frequently name-dropped Kraft, tweeting previously that he is a “total winner,” “smart,” and his “friend.” But in a statement released Sunday morning, Kraft said he was “deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday,” while praising the “tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities,” by the league’s players. He added that he supports their “right to peaceably affect social change and raise awareness.”
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 24, 2017
Kraft is far from the only NFL owner/executive to denounce Trump’s smears and defend the players.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank
Statement from Arthur Blank: pic.twitter.com/20DH3DHc4e
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 23, 2017
Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) September 24, 2017
Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula
Statement from Buffalo Bills Owners Terry and Kim Pegula. pic.twitter.com/i3D5xzBBSn
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) September 24, 2017
Chicago Bears chairman George H. McCaskey
Statement from Chicago Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey. pic.twitter.com/36u9aboXOO
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 24, 2017
Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam
Statement from Dee and Jimmy Haslam pic.twitter.com/QvCmKPkKwc
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 24, 2017
Denver Broncos CEO Joe Ellis
"We could not be more proud, appreciative and grateful for our players."
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 24, 2017
Detroit Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford
— Tori Petry (@sportstori) September 24, 2017
Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy
Packers have released a statement from Mark Murphy on the President's remarks. pic.twitter.com/15c3fIvwTd
— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) September 23, 2017
Houston Texans owner Robert C. McNair
Texans owner Bob McNair: pic.twitter.com/iV5EHtLwRY
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 24, 2017
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) September 24, 2017
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Kahn
Shad Kahn, Jags owner, releases statement about President Trumps recent remarks and his continued support for the team and the NFL pic.twitter.com/mTjRC4A9G5
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@jvillejags93) September 24, 2017
Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos
Spanos: "I wholeheartedly agree with the commissioner's statement. The NFL and its players, more than anything, have been a force for good.
— Tom Krasovic (@SDUTKrasovic) September 24, 2017
Los Angeles Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke
Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke: pic.twitter.com/iHmL8ARSYv
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 24, 2017
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross
Statement from Miami Dolphins Owner and Founder of Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) Stephen Ross. pic.twitter.com/6W3mXwJO6M
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 23, 2017
Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf
Statement from Zygi and Mark Wilf and the entire Wilf family. pic.twitter.com/1YeAaKyjaW
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 24, 2017
New Orleans Saints
Saints statement pic.twitter.com/E6qNlciZSO
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 24, 2017
New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) September 23, 2017
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis
— Stephen Michaels🏈 (@TheRaidersDaily) September 24, 2017
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 24, 2017
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York
— Jed York (@JedYork) September 23, 2017
Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen
— Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) September 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer
A statement from the Buccaneers: pic.twitter.com/Xfamm2ihco
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) September 24, 2017
Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk
Statement from Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk speaking about unity, praising players impact on community. pic.twitter.com/zUBEhBXvF2
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) September 23, 2017
Not all owners were explicitly critical of Trump though.
Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill praised his players and football in general.
Statement from Cardinals President Michael Bidwill. pic.twitter.com/IZ99pSSJXx
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) September 24, 2017
The Cincinnati Bengals released an odd statement that “football and politics don’t mix easily.”
— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) September 24, 2017
Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt put out a statement saying he supports the flag and the right to differing opinions.
Statement from Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt. pic.twitter.com/DdMruLebOj
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 24, 2017
New York Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson, whose brother Woody is the team’s owner and Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, released a statement praising his players generally.
— Kimberly Jones (@KimJonesSports) September 24, 2017
Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II issued a vague statement noting that he hopes the nation comes together eventually.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 24, 2017
And the Washington NFL team issued a statement praising its players, coaches, fans, and those in the armed forces who fought for the “freedom to play football.”
A statement from the Washington Redskins. pic.twitter.com/GsCMfWTZ7T
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) September 25, 2017
Trump himself once owned the New Jersey Generals, a team in the now-defunct USFL football league, and has repeatedly retweeted suggestions that he would be a great NFL owner. He also promised as a candidate that “nobody would fight harder for free speech than me.”
This post will be updated to include additional statements as they become available.