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6 Things to Know About Trump's Feud With the NFL

Roger Goodell Robert Kraft
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell present the Vince Lombardi Trophy to New England owner Robert Kraft after the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium on Feb. 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. |

5. The NFL, the players union and teams criticized Trump's statements.

Both the NFL and the NFL Players Association supported the First Amendment rights of their players by issuing statements in response to Trump over the weekend.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement Saturday morning, stating that Trump's comments are "divisive" and "demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players."

"The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture," Goodell said in a statement. "There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month."

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith also released a statement on Saturday.

"The peaceful demonstrations by some of our players have generated a wide array of responses. Those opinions are protected speech and freedom that has been paid for by the sacrifice of men and women throughout history," Smith asserted. "This expression of speech has generated thoughtful discussion in our locker rooms and in board rooms. However, the line that marks the balance between the rights of every citizen in our great country gets crossed when someone is told to just 'shut up and play.'"

A number of NFL owners issued statements responding to Trump's remarks over the weekend, many of whom called Trump's comments divisive and offensive.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who donated over $1 million to Trump's presidential campaign, also condemned the president's comments.

"I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday. I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities," Kraft said in a statement. "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."

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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