Patriots

Report: Kraft played key role in NFL players, owners meeting with Goodell

Report: Kraft played key role in NFL players, owners meeting with Goodell

An ESPN report details last week's meeting of NFL players and owners with commissioner Roger Goodell over national anthem protests and the key role of Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

The report from Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham says the Patriots today will not kneel but will stand during the national anthem with one hand over their hearts and another hand on the shoulder of the teammate in front of them.

From the story:

Early on, one of the players pointedly told the assembled owners -- in particular Kraft, who this year gave his longtime friend Trump a Super Bowl 51 champions' ring -- "We know a lot of you are in with [President] Trump. This meeting is going on because the players think that some of the people that they work for are with his overall agenda, and that's not in the players' favor."

"I'm not with Trump," [Miami Dolphins owner Stephen] Ross said, alluding to the President's comments about the players. "And I don't mind anyone printing that anywhere."

All eyes turned to Kraft, who had been one of the strongest advocates of hosting this meeting with players. He said that players, while within their rights to peacefully protest, needed to understand that, at the end of the day, the NFL was a business, and that everyone in the room needed to think about it that way and to think about the people they entertain.

Several other owners echoed Kraft's concerns that the president found a way to endanger the sport's popularity with a divisive, politically charged issue. "This could kill football and end our business," an owner said.

The Patriots' plan to stand for the anthem in a unified fashion echoes the comments made earlier this week by Patriots safety Devin McCourty, one of those who kneeled in protest last week. McCourty attended the meeting Tuesday with Kraft and teammate Matthew Slater. 

 

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Patriots-Steelers tale of the tape

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Patriots-Steelers tale of the tape

0:41 - The BST crew breaks down the Celtics’ 107-95 loss to the Utah Jazz. A. Sherrod Blakely joins Tom Giles from the TD Garden and Michael Holley and Kayce Smith analyze Gordon Hayward’s pregame comments about his recovery and return.

8:07 - Do Bill Belichick and the Patriots attempt to shut down Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown this weekend against the Steelers? Tom Giles and Michael Holley discuss and Phil Perry and Kayce Smith break down the matchup with this week’s tale of the tape.

14:36 - The Red Sox watched another slugger get scooped up, as the Philadelphia Phillies signed Carlos Santana. Michael Holley, Kayce Smith and Tom Giles discuss Boston’s interest in still-available J.D. Martinez and how much he could cost the club.

Injury report: Branch out, 10 Patriots questionable

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Injury report: Branch out, 10 Patriots questionable

The Patriots final injury report before their showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday includes 10 players listed as questionable and defensive lineman Alan Branch ruled out.

Branch, who hurt his knee in the Monday night loss to the Dolphins, missed three days of practice this week. Among the questionable are linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive lineman Trey Flowers, who didn't play against Miami. Tom Brady (Achilles), Brandon Cooks (hand) and Malcolm Butler (ankle) have been removed from the injury report. 

Cornerback Joe Haden (fibula) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring) among the Steelers listed as questionable. The full injury report: