Speaking to CNBC, Tepper – who bought the Panthers for $2.2 billion in May – said the attacks on players who protest during the national anthem is “the biggest pile of bull-dinky ever.”
Although Tepper didn’t specifically name President Trump, it was clear whom he was talking about, referring to “Howdy-Doody” and “the red-headed guy in DC” during the interview.
Tepper called NFL players the “most patriotic people” in the country, noting their substantial charitable contributions. He recited the Pledge of Allegiance, putting emphasis on the words “and justice for all.”
President Trump has been an outspoken opponent of players kneeling, raising a fist, sitting or otherwise protesting during the playing of the national anthem. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!”
Tepper has been an outspoken opponent of the President on other issues as well, so his remarks were not out of step with his past observations, although it broke ranks with other NFL owners, who have largely tried to avoid the President on the issue.