Tom Brady has joined his fellow NFL players in their displays of unity following President Donald Trump’s recent railing against NFL player Colin Kaepernick and other players who kneel during the national anthem during games.
The New England Patriots quarterback, 40, shared a photo on Instagram Sunday showing him and teammate James White during a game.
“Strength. Passion. Love. Brotherhood. Team. Unity. Commitment. Dedication. Determination. Respect. Loyalty. Work,” he captioned the image, adding the hashtag #nflplayer.
Brady also reacted to a photo posted by Aaron Rodgers, which featured the Green Bay Packers quarterback kneeling with other players. The five-time Super Bowl champion commented with a simple arm flexing emoji.
Brady said last October that he considers Trump a friend.
The two met in 2002 — just as Brady claimed his first Super Bowl title, reports CBS Sports. He was hired by Trump’s organization as a judge on the Miss USA pageant, and the two have remained supportive of one another through the years.
“I met him probably 15, 16 years ago,” Brady said of Trump. “We’ve played golf together many, many times and I’ve always had a good time with him. He’s been a friend of mine.”
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During a rally speech in Alabama on Friday, Trump stated, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a b–ch off the field right now. Out, you’re fired.’”
He followed this up by pouring more gasoline on the fire with a series of tweets. “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect…our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” he wrote. “If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
Numerous celebrities — including Diddy — have also joined in standing behind the players, causing a resurgence of the #TakeAKnee hashtag on social media.
In August 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines — and sparked a movement — when he took a knee during the national anthem.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said at the time. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
On Sunday, multiple players on both the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars took a knee during the national anthem. Others, including coaches, linked arms on the sideline in solidarity.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan, the only minority owner in the NFL, stood and linked arms with players Marcedes Lewis and Telvin Smith.
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USA Today reports Khan donated $1 million to Trump’s presidential campaign. Later on Sunday, Khan released a statement saying that it was a privilege to stand with his players.
“Our team and National Football League reflects our nations, with diversity coming in many forms — race, faith, our views and our goals,” Khan said. “We have a lot of work to do and we can do it, but the comments by the President make it harder. That’s why it’s important for us, and personally for me, to show the world that even if we may differ at times, we can and should be united in the effort to become better as people and a nation.”