Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt issues new statement on national anthem protests

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt issued a statement Sunday afternoon in the wake of President Donald Trump’s remarks over the weekend that NFL owner should suspend or fire players who chose not to stand during the national anthem before games.

Hunt’s statement alludes to his past remarks that he prefers players to stand for the national anthem, but does not address Trump’s statement directly:

“We are blessed in the National Football League to work with an outstanding group of players who, through their thoughtfulness and generosity, are deeply engaged in their communities. I believe in honoring the American flag and supporting all of those whose sacrifices protect the many freedoms we have in this country, including the right to have differences of opinion. Sports have long been a unifying force – especially in challenging times – and hatred and division have no place in our game. As a nation, we face serious challenges, and I believe as Americans, each of us has a responsibility to engage one another with empathy and humility to gain a better understanding of ways we can work together to solve these difficult issues.”
— Clark Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs chairman and chief executive officer

Last season Hunt said preferred his players stand for the national anthem but did not order players to stand.

“It’s not something where I’ve spoken specifically to the players or any specific player about it,” Hunt said last season. “But the entire team knows that our desire is for them to stand during the national anthem.”

Trump during a rally Friday night in Huntsville, Ala., criticized NFL players who choose not to stand during the national anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” Trump said, “when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”

Several NFL players responded on social media, including Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley.

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters had opted to sit during the national anthem during several preseason and regular season games. That includes last week’s game against the Eagles.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke about Peters’ decision during his Monday press conference.

“As a head coach, I see more than other people see, and right or wrong, we’re given the opportunity to express ourselves,” Reid said. “We all are. We all don’t agree. But when we come together, we come together as the Chiefs as a football team and that’s not a distraction for our football team, and we roll.”

Reid said he feels he knows a different side of Peters not well known to media and fans. He mentioned the cornerback’s work in his hometown of Oakland with young kids and organizing a local football team there. Peters also sponsored his 2nd annual “It Takes a Village” carnival in April at McClymonds High School in Oakland.

“His big picture is that he’s helping to raise these kids and he wants to raise them in a better world,” Reid said. “That was my point, and I’m sure that’s probably part of this.”

But the coach said he doesn’t want to debate the merits of Peters choosing to sit for the anthem.

“People are going to have opinions for and against,” Reid said. “I’m not going to get into all that.”


Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.