Remember when the owners and players got together late in 2017 to discuss Donald Trump calling them sons of bitches? The NY Times has audio of that session, and if you are Colin Kaepernick’s collusion lawyer, you are going to love what is in that audio.
Here is just some of it.
The New England Patriots owner Robert K. Kraft pointed to another “elephant in the room.”
“This kneeling,” he said.
“The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America,” said Kraft, who is a longtime supporter of Mr. Trump’s. “It’s divisive and it’s horrible.”
The owners were intent on finding a way to avoid Trump’s continued criticism. The president’s persistent jabs on Twitter had turned many fans against the league. Lurie, who called Trump’s presidency “disastrous,” cautioned against players getting drawn into the president’s tactics.
“We’ve got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whomever else,” Lurie said. “We have to find a way to not be divided and not get baited.”
The Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula sounded anguished over the uncertainty of when Trump would take another shot at the league. “All Donald needs to do is to start to do this again,” 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.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan countered that the worst was behind them. “All the damage Trump’s going to do is done,” he said.
Bob McNair continued to show what he thinks of black people, basically told the players to shut up and dribble.
The Houston Texans owner Bob McNair was more direct. He urged the players to tell their colleagues to, essentially, knock off the kneeling. “You fellas need to ask your compadres, fellas, stop that other business.
Chris Long and other players implored the owners to sign Colin Kaepernick because that would have ended all of this nonsense, but the owners were too afraid of Trump.
After discussing a proposal to finance nonprofit groups to address player concerns, they wanted to talk about why Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who started the anthem protests to highlight social injustice and police brutality against African-Americans, was, they believed, being blackballed by the owners. The owners sounded panicked about their business under attack, and wanted to focus on damage control.
“If he was on a roster right now, all this negativeness and divisiveness could be turned into a positive,” Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long said at the meeting.
“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.”
Maybe the most egregious statement was that the leagued needed a black figurehead to make them look good to the media.
Pegula offered that he thought the league was battling a perception and “media problem.” He said it would be great for the league to find a compelling spokesman — preferably a player — to promote all of the good things they were doing together. He suggested that the league could learn from the gun lobby in this regard.
For years we’ve watched the National Rifle Association use Charlton Heston as a figurehead,” Pegula said. “We need a spokesman.”
Anquan Boldin, a former N.F.L. wide receiver who was at the meeting, said that owners needed to be spokesmen, too. “Letting people know it’s not just the players that care about these issues, but the owners, too,” Boldin said.
Pegula didn’t address Boldin’s point except to add that it would be important for the spokesman to be black. (None of the N.F.L.’s 32 owners are black.)
“For us to have a face, as an African-American, at least a face that could be in the media,” Pegula continued, “we could fall in behind that.”
The league cares more about money and Trump that doing the right thing, which from this meeting you can see.