Colts owner Irsay ‘troubled by’ Trump comments on NFL protests

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay speaks to the media following an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in Indianapolis. Detroit won 24-10. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay responded Saturday night to President Donald Trump’s Friday night suggestion to fire NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, saying he was “troubled by the the president’s recent comments about our league and our players.”

At a rally in Alabama on Friday night, Trump said NFL players who refused to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” are exhibiting a “total disrespect of our heritage.”

The National Football League and its players’ union on Saturday angrily denounced Trump’s suggestions.

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players,” the league commissioner, Roger Goodell, said in a statement.

Trump tweeted Saturday that Curry is no longer invited to the White House because of what the president called hesitation by the two-time NBA MVP in deciding whether to make the traditional champions’ trip to Washington.

Irsay’s full statement follows:

I am troubled by the President’s recent comments about our league and our players. Sports in America have the unique ability to bring people from all walks of life and from different points of view together to work toward or root for a common goal, and the Indianapolis Colts are proud to be a part of that tradition in our home city and state.

The vast majority of players in the NFL — especially those who have worn and continue to wear the Horseshoe — have donated millions of dollars to charities, raised money for those affected by recent hurricanes, created charitable foundations, visited schools, mentored students, worked in homeless shelters, cleaned up parks, and put in hours of their personal time toward improving their communities and the lives of those around them.

That’s the spirit in which this nation was founded, and we all need to work tirelessly to bring people together to take on the challenges that face us and give back to the people of our communities. More so than any result on the field, that is a common goal worth rooting for.”

The Colts will face the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m.