Late last month, President Donald Trump issued harsh words to NFL players who have peacefully protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem, sparking a firestorm of criticism from team owners and players alike.
Several owners and team execs condemned Trump’s divisive rhetoric and took it a step further by kneeling alongside more than 200 players the following Sunday in a show of solidarity. Not everyone was quick to criticize the president, however, namely the eight team owners who donated a combined $7.25 million to Trump’s inauguration celebration earlier this year, The Washington Post reported.
A recent analysis featured in the newspaper revealed that since at least 2014, owners who donated to Trump have consistently had fewer African-American execs, general managers and vice presidents than teams whose owners did not donate. In fact, owners who did not give to the real estate mogul-turned-politician were found to be roughly 2.5 times as likely to have Black general managers or vice presidents than Trump-donating owners over the past three football seasons.
The eight owners who willingly shelled out millions to the president’s inaugural committee are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Edward Glazer, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, according to the newspaper. The donor-owners’ notable silence in the wake of Trump’s comments left some scratching their heads.
A statement from Kraft a few days later finally broke the ice.
“I’m deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the president on Friday,” he wrote. ” … 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.”
The analysis also pointed to evidence that NFL teams with Trump owner-donors have had fewer African-American players. Data from Best Tickets’ Unofficial 2014 NFL Player Census showed that nearly 70 percent of players on teams owned by non-Trump donors were Black, compared to just 65 percent for those belonging to teams with Trump-supporting owners.
There are some limitations, however.
The author of the analysis noted that while it’s unlikely that the scarcity of Black execs on Trump-donating teams is a random variation, his samples were too small to come to a concrete conclusion on why there are fewer African-American execs on these teams and owners are being discriminatory.