Robert Kraft 'deeply disappointed by the tone' of Trump's comments

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a statement Sunday regarding the comments made by President Donald Trump on Friday.

At a rally in Alabama, Trump implored NFL owners to fire any player who protests during the national anthem. He told owners to "get that son of a bitch off the field," a statement that has since been condemned by players, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and the NFLPA.

Kraft joined that chorus Sunday with the following statement:

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. 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.

Trump and Kraft have referred to each other as great friends, and their relationship has gone so far as to include Kraft donating $1 million to Trump's inauguration celebrations and gifting the president a Super Bowl ring after the Patriots' championship victory in February.

Kraft is the first of the more than handful of owners who have financially supported Trump to speak out against his comments on NFL players.