Jed York on Saturday offered harsh criticism of Donald Trump, calling the President's Friday comments about those who have been protesting during the national anthem "callous and offensive."
Speaking at a rally in Huntsville, Ala., Trump said NFL owners should fire players that don't stand for the anthem. Trump said he'd "love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b---- off the field right now! He is fired!’”
The anthem protests began more than a year ago with then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who said he wanted to call attention to institutionalized racism in this country. York, the 49ers CEO, backed Kaepernick and others last year and led off a refrain of criticism from NFL owners Saturday.
Said York: “The callous and offensive comments made by the President are contradictory to what this great country stands for. Our players have exercised their rights as United States citizens in order to spark conversation and action to address social injustice. We will continue to support them in their peaceful pursuit of positive change in our country and around the world. The San Francisco 49ers will continue to work toward bringing communities, and those who serve them, closer together.”
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A number of San Francisco players, including safeties Eric Reid and Jaquiski Tartt, re-tweeted York's Tweet that contained his statement. Reid so far has been the only 49ers player in 2017 who has knelt during the anthem. Several players have stood around him with their hand on his shoulder in a show of support.
Other owners and team officials followed York's lead.
Said Dolphins owners Stephen Ross: "Our country needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness. We need to seek to understand each other and have civil discourse instead of condemnation and sound bites."
Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch: "Comments like we heard last night from the President are inappropriate, offensive and divisive. We are proud of our players, the vast majority of whom use their NFL platform to make a positive difference in our society."
Trump also got a response from Kaepernick's mother, Teresa, who in a reply to a tweet to writer Jamil Smith, who had shared a story about Trump’s remarks, wrote: “Guess that makes me a proud b----!”