BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady praised the leadership in the Patriots locker room and said conversations will continue as teams around the league decide how to handle the issue of protests during the National Anthem.
Brady took the podium at Gillette Stadium late Wednesday afternoon, after a report that the team will stand during the national anthem before Sunday’s tilt against the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium.
Though the quarterback didn’t directly address the report, he said the team will continue discussing how to handle the issue.
“I don’t think anybody wants (a divided locker room). We really have to focus on our jobs and showing up here. That’s where the focus needs to be,” Brady said. “I’m sure there will be conversations as we continue to move forward and we’ll see how it goes.”
Brady spoke about what makes for a strong locker room dynamic.
“I think it’s overall trust that everyone is here to do the same thing. Everyone has a great deal of respect for each other in the locker room,” Brady said. “We show up, we try to work hard every day and always put the team first and also understand there are extenuating circumstances at times. You have to respect the people you play with and, like I said after the game, just love for the players and for things that are important to individuals. I think we have a great locker room, we have some good leadership.”
Several members of the Patriots took a knee ahead of last Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans, as did hundreds of other players around the league following President Donald Trump’s urging for the NFL to “fire” any player that kneels during the anthem.
Brady was not one of them, standing with his hand over his heart and locking arms with receiver Phillip Dorsett on the sideline. He said he supported his teammates that did kneel, and called Trump’s comments “divisive” in a Monday night interview.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola said in the locker room Wednesday that it’s his understanding players will be standing before the game against Carolina, “but it’s not Sunday yet.”
Earlier Wednesday, Brady was named the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight week and record 29th time of his career.
The quarterback said he’s feeling good despite taking some big hits from Houston.
“Let’s go again, baby. Let’s line up and play,” Brady laughed.
Brady also reminisced about the controversial Monday Night Football game between the Patriots and Panthers in 2013. Carolina won 24-20 after referees threw a flag for pass interference in the end zone as time expired, but picked it up saying that Rob Gronkowski would not have been able to catch the ball.
“That was a tough game. It was a hard-fought game. We had to earn every yard, and it came down to the end,” Brady said.
After the no-call, Brady followed the officials off the field and was caught on camera having choice words for referee Clete Blakeman.
“I’d like to apologize to him, I don’t think said very nice things to him,” Brady said with a smile on Wednesday.