Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a Trump ally, 'deeply disappointed' by president's tone
Robert Kraft's friendship with President Donald Trump only goes so far.
The Patriots owner, who donated $1million to Trump's inauguration committee and gave him a custom Super Bowl ring, issued a strongly worded rebuke to the president on Sunday morning in the wake of Trump's criticism of the NFL and its players.
"I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday," Kraft wrote.
"I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger.
"There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal.
"Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful."
Several NFL owners and commissioner Roger Goodell had issued statements on Saturday after Trump's attacks on the players who have taken a knee in protest during the national anthem.
The president criticised those protests at a rally Friday in Alabama and repeated them on Twitter both on Saturday and Sunday morning.
Widespread player action is expected before Sunday's games. Patriots tackle Nate Solder tweeted earlier in the day that his team is united despite any differences of opinion among players about the protests.
stand or kneel, that's a free choice, you won't see any division in this locker room over that, we respect each other too much.-- Nate Solder (@soldernate) September 24, 2017