BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft issued a statement Sunday morning responding to President Donald Trump’s comments about players who take a knee during the National Anthem.

“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.”

At a campaign rally Friday night, Trump told a Huntsville, Alabama crowd owners should fire players who do not stand while the Star Spangled Banner is played.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump said.

More: New England Revolution Fans Weigh-In On President’s National Anthem Tweets

He followed those comments up with tweets Saturday morning, saying players who don’t respect the flag should “Find something else to do!”

But Kraft, who enjoys a close relationship with the president and even gave him a commemorative Super Bowl ring during the Patriots’ visit to the White House in April, took issue with Trump’s comments.

“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,” Kraft wrote in his response.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft and President Donald Trump on Air Force One (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Some of Kraft’s players fired back at the President with tweets of their own.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady posted a message of unity on his personal Facebook and Instagram pages:

“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,” tweeted offensive lineman Nate Solder.

Patriots captain and safety Devin McCourty fired back at the President with a tweet of his own.

League Commissioner Roger Goodell responded with a statement Saturday night.

Kraft had some advice for moving forward–learn from football teams’ example of teamwork and leadership.

“There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics,” Kraft wrote. “I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal.”

Comments (34)

    1. KIA says:

      brother, you’re not understanding the purpose of the protest

      1. Arthur – Completed Agree!!!

  2. Marc Boyd says:

    Goodbye to my Ravens after their shameful display in London. I will no longer buy a ticket, buy a jersey, watch these overpaid crybabies or patronize them in any way until the NFL stops this nonsense. Take a knee if you like but you will do it without my financial support. And to those of you who say that I don’t understand the purpose of the protest, you’re right, and neither do I care. I tune in to watch America’s greatest past-time, not to see privileged millionaires disrespecting our country under the guise of standing up for the down-trodden. If you want to stand up for the down-trodden, join the military. I cannot support the NFL any longer if they will not support the country which allows them to make the millions that they make. Their actions are disrespectful to our country and to all the brave men and women who have fought and died so that the stars and stripes can continue to fly and so that pretentious little pr*cks like you can protest it. Until the NFL begins demanding that the players stand, I will be taking my own knee against them and in support of the land of the free and the home of the brave. I hope that millions upon millions of patriotic Americans will do the same and show the NFL that their players can practice their first amendment rights off the field all they want but when they are representing my city, my state and my country, they will show respect for our institutions.

  3. Allen Lawson says:

    Trump is right period… the protesting is ok with the right platform but don’t disrespect the flag or our country . All the jive players saying no disrespect to the military etc etc is b.s.. look who most of these guys are . They don’t show much respect for anything. They laugh when they get fined and say it means nothing .I think when they retire and try for broadcasting jobs all the companies that hire them prefer convicted felons . The networks are as bad as the players because they just love it so they can put out more meaningless b.s. Hey coach tomlin and the one player for the steelers who stood thanks coach you to man .not to many nfl teams left that I’ll watch and doesn’t hurt a bit .

  4. Kay Jay says:

    Look in your bank account and you’ll realize you’re not on the high school team any more! You’re suppose to be individual professionals. Too bad Brady couldn’t work in where religion, love of country and FAMILY fit in. Kraft is viewing sports through a monetary lens (the season has begun and we’re all in this for another big win). There are many talents that unify people in our country–music, religious beliefs, strong extended families, teaching people of all ages, to name a few.Sports are part of this list, but not the only way to unify. These players down on their knees are not protesting inequality, as I see racial diversity on all the NFL teams. So get up off your knees and teach our youth what respect is all about by showing some!

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