NEW England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who supported Donald Trump during the election, has declared he disagreed with the president's suggestion that NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem should be fired.
"I certainly disagree with what he said. I thought it was just divisive," Brady said during an interview on the "Kirk and Callahan" radio show on WEEI in Boston. "Like I said, I just want to support my teammates."
Trump on Monday defended his remarks, saying they were about "respect for our Flag" and not race.
Brady, who has said he's friends with Trump and was spotted during the presidential campaign with a "Make America Great Again" hat in his locker, said in the interview football brings a diverse group of people together for one purpose.
"The one thing about football is it brings so many guys together - guys you would never have the opportunity to be around," he said. "Whether it was in college, and all the way into the pros. We're all different, we're all unique. That is what makes us all special."
The five-time Super Bowl champ, whom Trump once called a "great friend," was among the hundreds of NFL players, coaches and owners who knelt or stood arm-in-arm in solidarity during the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner during Sunday's games.
He said he has great respect for players around the league and for his teammates.
"When you're in a locker room full of 53 players, you're working to a common goal. You support the guys that you play with and you support your coaches, coaches support you. You just do the best you can do," Brady said.
He also said he heard the boos from fans at Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots hosted the Houston Texans, and agreed that they have a right to voice their displeasure.
"I think everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do. If you don't agree, that is fine," he said. "You can voice your disagreement, I think that is great. It's part of our democracy. As long as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country has been all about."
Trump, during a speech Friday night in the US state of Alabama, called on NFL owners to fire or suspend players who take a knee during the national anthem.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired'," Trump said.
His comments sparked a firestorm, with Trump on Monday insisting his charged comments were about patriotism, not race.
He also pointed to the Pittsburgh Penguins acceptance of a White House invitation and support from race car fans.
The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
This story originally appeared in The New York Post and has been republished here with permission.
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