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NFL executives, players respond to President Trump

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Trump wants to see NFL players fired for kneeling during anthem (0:47)

At a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, President Donald Trump told the crowd he would "love" for NFL owners to punish players for protesting during the national anthem. (0:47)

President Donald Trump on Friday night criticized NFL players who lodge protests during the national anthem.

Speaking at a political rally in Huntsville, Alabama, Trump said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out. He's fired! He's fired!"

Here's how former and present NFL players, and front-office executives, reacted on social media:


Packers president Mark Murphy:
"It's unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL. We strongly believe that players are leaders in our communities and positive influences. They have achieved their positions through tremendous work and dedication and should be celebrated for their success and positive impact. We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely."

Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer


I just spoke with Raiders owner Mark Davis. He told me the following: “About a year ago, before our Tennessee game, I met with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack to ask their permission to have Tommie Smith light the torch for my father before the game in Mexico City. I explained to them that I was asking their permission because I had previously told them that I would prefer that they not protest while in the Raiders uniform. And should they have something to say, once their uniform was off, I might go up there with them. Over the last year, though, the streets have gotten hot and there has been a lot of static in the air and recently, fuel has been added to the fire. I can no longer ask our team to not say something while they are in a Raider uniform. The only thing I can ask them to do is do it with class. Do it with pride. Not only do we have to tell people there is something wrong, we have to come up with answers. That’s the challenge in front of us as Americans and human beings.”

Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer
























Strong words from the Giants in response to President Donald Trump's comments:

Jordan Raanan, ESPN Staff Writer







Statement from Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk speaking about unity and praising the impact players have on the community.

Cameron Wolfe, ESPN Staff Writer

Statement from Chargers owner Dean Spanos on Donald Trump's comments regarding NFL player protests: "I wholeheartedly agree with the commissioner's statement. The NFL and its players, more than anything, have been a force for good. What our country needs right now is a message of unity, civility and mutual respect."

Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer

Raiders owner Mark Davis had no comment on Donald Trump saying NFL owners should fire a player who "disrespects" the American flag. Davis did, however, maintain his stance that he wished players would not protest while in uniform, though he would not punish players who did protest. "The Raiders have always stood for diversity and rights," Davis said last November, "but I just don't think they should protest while in uniform. This is not a police state. If there was an issue, come talk to me. Hell, I may go and stand up there with them."

Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie released a statement Saturday night following comments from President Donald Trump, who said he wished NFL players who protested during the national anthem would be fired:

Tim McManus, ESPN Staff Writer

Jaguars owner Shad Khan is in London with the team and spokesman Jim Woodcock said Khan would not have a separate statement regarding President Trump's recent comments about players that protest during the National Anthem. "Commissioner Goodell's statement speaks for Mr. Khan and the Jaguars," Woodcock said. Khan is one of seven NFL owners who donated $1 million to Trump.

Michael DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross' statement today: "Our country needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness. We need to seek to understand each other and have civil discourse instead of condemnation and sound bites. I know our players who kneeled for the anthem and these are smart young men of character who want to make our world a better place for everyone. They wanted to start a conversation and are making a difference in our community, including working with law enforcement to bring people together. We all can benefit from learning, listening and respecting each other. Sports is a common denominator in our world. We all have the responsibility to use this platform to promote understanding, respect and equality."

James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer

Statement from Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank following the comments from President Donald Trump: “We are at our very best when we are working together, building unity and including everyone’s voice in a constructive dialogue. Creating division or demonizing viewpoints that are different than our own accomplishes nothing positive and undermines our collective ability to achieve the ideals of our democracy. The NFL has historically been a strong catalyst for positive change and I’m proud of the way our players, coaches and staff use that platform to give back to our community and strive to be good citizens making a positive impact on this and future generations.”

Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer

49ers CEO Jed York tweeted his response to President Donald Trump’s comments about the NFL on Saturday afternoon: “The callous and offensive comments made by the President are contradictory to what this great country stands for. Our players have exercised their rights as United States citizens in order to spark conversation and action to address social injustice. We will continue to support them in their peaceful pursuit of positive change in our country and around the world. The San Francisco 49ers will continue to work toward bringing communities, and those who serve, them closer together.”

Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer

A statement from Steelers president Art Rooney II regarding Donald Trump comments:

"I believe the Commissioner made an appropriate statement, and I have nothing to add at this time."

Jeremy Fowler, ESPN Staff Writer

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians reacted Saturday to President Trump's comments made last night about how he thinks players who protest should be treated by NFL owners: "I thought the commissioner had a great statement and I agree with it. I’ve been in locker rooms for 25 years, and some of the most reputable men I’ve ever met wear that uniform and to even get to overcome the things in their life to get to the NFL is amazing. What they’ve done in the last month for hurricane relief victims speaks volumes of what we’re all about in the NFL. And I’ll just leave it in that."

Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer



Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin released this statement in response to President Donald Trump's comments: "We fully support our players' use of their freedom of speech and peaceful action to highlight the existing racial and other divides in our country. Our players completely respect the military and veterans of our country; however, they believe these issues need to come to the forefront."

Brady Henderson, ESPN

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll released a statement of his own following the one from team president Peter McLoughlin.

Brady Henderson, ESPN

Lions owner Martha Ford just released a statement about President Donald Trump's comments about the NFL. It reads:

"Our game has long provided a powerful platform for dialogue and positive change in many communities throughout our nation.

"Thanks primarily to our players, the NFL also has been a unifying force in our country and impactful change has and hopefully will continue to be the result of peaceful expression, done so in order to highlight social injustices of all kind.

"Negative and disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country, and we do not support those comments or opinions."

Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer







Statement from Jets acting owner Christopher Johnson: "It was an honor and a privilege to stand arm-in-arm unified with our players during today's National Anthem. We are very proud of our players and their strong commitment to work in our community to make a positive, constructive, and unifying impact." No criticism of Donald Trump, who recently named Woody Johnson -- Christopher's older brother -- the US ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer

A statement from Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt: "We are blessed in the National Football League to work with an outstanding group of players who, through their thoughtfulness and generosity, are deeply engaged in their communities. I believe in honoring the American flag and supporting all of those whose sacrifices protect the many freedoms we have in this country, including the right to have differences of opinion. Sports have long been a unifying force – especially in challenging times – and hatred and division have no place in our game. As a nation, we face serious challenges, and I believe as Americans, each of us has a responsibility to engage one another with empathy and humility to gain a better understanding of ways we can work together to solve these difficult issues.”

Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff Writer





The Bengals released this statement after the players linked arms during the national anthem: “Football and politics don't mix easily. Fans come to NFL games to watch great competition on the playing field and that's where our focus should be."

Katherine Terrell, ESPN Staff Writer