New York Times report outlines what went down during owners and players meeting.
Last October, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with owners and several players to discuss kneeling during the national anthem and the status of free agent, quarterback Colin Kaepernick who spearheaded the movement in 2016. Today, Ken Belson and Mark Leibovich of the New York Times revealed details of that meeting after obtaining audio from the three-hour conversation.
According to the NYT report, the owners and players in attendance also discussed the frequent comments made by President Trump, which were having a negative impact on the league.
Some notable quotes from NFL owners regarding Trump and his criticism of the league include:
"All Donald needs to do is to start to do this again," Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula said. "We need some kind of immediate plan because of what's going on in society. All of us now, we need to put a Band-Aid on what's going on in the country."
"We've got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whomever else. We have to find a way to not be divided and not get baited," said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.
"The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that [kneeling during the anthem] as fodder to do his mission that I don't feel is in the best interests of America," Kraft said. "It's divisive and it's horrible."
Houston Texans owner, Bob McNair, urged the players in attendance to get their teammates to "stop that other business."
“You fellas need to ask your compadres, fellas, stop that other business, let’s go out and do something that really produces positive results, and we’ll help you,” McNair said, according to the New York Times.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long made his stance clear, saying, “We all agree in this room as players that he [Kaepernick] should be on a roster. If he was on a roster right now, all this negativeness and divisiveness could be turned into a positive."
Eric Reid, who played on the San Francisco 49ers with Kaepernick said he felt like his former teammate was "hung out to dry."
“I feel like he was hung out to dry,” Reid said of Kaepernick. “Everyone in here is talking about how much they support us.” The room fell quiet. “Nobody stepped up and said we support Colin’s right to do this. We all let him become Public Enemy No. 1 in this country, and he still doesn’t have a job.”
No NFL team has worked out Kaepernick since he became a free agent after the 2016 season. The Seahawks had planned to bring him in earlier this week, but reportedly postponed the workout because Kaepernick declined to stop kneeling for the national anthem next season.