The owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars says that President Trump is so critical of the National Football League (NFL) as he is “jealous” of the organization.
“This is a very personal issue with him,” Shad Khan told USA Today Sports Wednesday in New York City.
“He’s been elected president, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own a NFL team is not very likely,” he added of Trump, who failed to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014. "So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated. [Trump’s] a divider, not a uniter.”
Khan added that Trump’s recurring attacks on the NFL pale in comparison to the president’s past remarks on minorities.
“The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews,” he said. “I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive.”
“Here, it’s about money, or messing with – trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of,” added Khan, who purchased the Jaguars in 2011 for $760 million.
Trump on Wednesday tweeted that the NFL’s decision to keep letting its employees kneel during the national anthem shows “total disrespect for our great country!”
The NFL on Tuesday opted not to implement a rule requiring its employees to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” amid raging controversy over the issue.
Scores of NFL coaches, executives and players have knelt during the anthem since Trump called on the league to fire employees who do so last month.
Former San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the trend in 2016 as a protest against America’s racial injustice.
Critics have since argued it is unpatriotic and disrespectful of the military, while supporters counter it is a valid expression of free speech on an important issue.