Players from the Kansas City Chiefs taking a knee. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

NFL players, owners, and executives held a confidential meeting at league headquarters last October to address President Trump's attacks against the league in the wake of player protests — instigated by quarterback Colin Kaepernick — against police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, per The New York Times.

Why it matters: A recording of the meeting, obtained by the Times, shows that owners were deeply worried about the impact that the protests might have on the economic future of the league, pressuring players to put an end to the situation as quickly as possible.

A big quote: New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who is a supporter and friend of Trump, addressed the impact of the protests:

“The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America. It’s divisive and it’s horrible.”

Getting direct: Houston Texas owner Bob McNair addressed the players in the room directly, asking them to spread the word to end the protests in order to ward off Trump's attacks against the league:

"You fellas need to ask your compadres, fellas, stop that other business, let’s go out and do something that really produces positive results, and we’ll help you.”

Between the lines: The players in the room attempted to address Kaepernick's status with the league on multiple occasions, but were rebuffed by the owners and executives. Kaepernick has gone unsigned since the protests gained steam, and Eric Reid, Kaepernick's supporter and former teammate, had harsh words for the higher-ups:

“I feel like he was hung out to dry. Everyone in here is talking about how much they support us. Nobody stepped up and said we support Colin’s right to do this. We all let him become Public Enemy No. 1 in this country, and he still doesn’t have a job.”

How it ended: Per the Times, "The meeting concluded with some participants saying how positive the session had been, and how they would all keep talking." Kaepernick remains unsigned while the league clamped down on the protests — with commissioner Roger Goodell publicly announcing his desire for the number of protestors to drop to "zero" around the time of the meeting. The group did release a joint statement after its summit:

“Today owners and players had a productive meeting focused on how we can work together to promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities. NFL executives and owners joined NFLPA executives and player leaders to review and discuss plans to utilize our platform to promote equality and effectuate positive change. We agreed that these are common issues and pledged to meet again to continue this work together.”

Go deeper

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Mitt Romney says he'll support moving forward with Supreme Court pick

Photo: Greg Nash/AFP/Pool via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced Tuesday that he would support moving forward with a Senate vote on President Trump's selection to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Why it matters: Barring any big surprises, Democrats have virtually no shot at stopping the confirmation process for the president’s nominee before November’s election.

Dave Lawler, author of World
34 mins ago - World

In UN address, Trump says China "unleashed this plague onto the world"

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump used a virtual address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to defend his response to the coronavirus and call on other countries to “hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China.”

Setting the scene: Trump ticked through four years of major decisions and accomplishments in what could be his last address to the UN. But first, he launched into a fierce attack on China as Beijing’s representative looked on in the assembly hall.

Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 31,361,979 — Total deaths: 965,642— Total recoveries: 21,528,674Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 6,859,117 — Total deaths: 199,911 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Wall Street fears stimulus is doomed.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!