Owner of the National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars Shahid Khan has spoken up about President Donald Trump, calling the commander-in-chief a "great divider."
The Oct. 12 comments by the Pakistani American made to Crain’s Chicago Business came just days in advance of a meeting amongst NFL owners to discuss protests by players during the national anthem, according to a New York Daily News report.
Trump has been outspoken about NFL players using their games as a platform to protest the anthem, with many taking knees to bring awareness to various issues facing the country.
Khan was locked in arms with players on the sideline of the field during the Jaguars Sept. 24 game in London during “The Star-Spangled Banner” a day after the president called upon owners to fire any player who protested the anthem.
"You have to give Trump credit, people are confused on the First Amendment versus patriotism, that if you exercise your First Amendment you're not a patriot, which is crazy," Khan told Crain’s Chicago Business, according to the report. "People are confused on it, (Trump) knew he could hit on it and take advantage. I think what we're seeing is the great divider overcoming the great uniter."
Khan was among many NFL owners who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration. However, the Jaguars owner, as well as other NFL team executives, have acknowledged the distinction between players protesting racial injustice and “disrespecting the flag” after Trump called kneeling into question, the report said.
Team owners are scheduled to meet in New York to discuss protocol for the anthem after Trump called on the NFL to demand that players stand.
League commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the league’s policy that players “should” stand and “honor the flag" in an effort to "move past the controversy," the Daily News reported.