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Kraft Calls Trump’s NFL Protest Stance ‘Horrible’ in Newly Released Audio

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NBC Sports - Boston

Robert Kraft has supported Donald Trump in the past. But the New England Patriots owner vehemently disagreed with the president for his handling of a controversial issue two years ago.

TMZ Sports has released audio from an October 2017 meeting between NFL owners and players regarding the players' protests during the national anthem.

That audio features Kraft taking Trump to task for his fiery criticism of Colin Kaepernick and other players who knelt during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and social injustice in America.

"The elephant in the room now is this kneeling, which every player has the right to do if they think is right," Kraft is heard saying in the meeting.

"The problem we have is, we have a President that will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don't feel is in the best interest of the matter.

"It's divisive and it's horrible. And it's actually the opposite of what you all (the players) are trying to do."

Kraft's comments came about a month after Trump told supporters at an Alabama rally he'd love to see NFL owners tell players who protested, "Get that son of a b---- off the field."

Kraft's criticism of Trump leaked shortly after that 2017 meeting, but this is the first time we've heard audio of his remarks, which included an additional lament about Trump's divisive tactics.

"We've lost the message to America," Kraft said, "because there's just 40 percent of the people who see this (through) their own bigotry or misunderstanding. That feeds into it."

Kaepernick hasn't played an NFL down since the end of the 2016 season and remains unemployed after holding a workout for NFL teams last weekend.

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