FOXBOROUGH - Back in 2017, one of the top stories in the NFL was the regular protests that players took during the national anthem. They were not protesting the anthem, but they were protesting the current state of affairs in the U.S., including police brutality against black men and women.

The protest was headed by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and it quickly spread, with a number of other players standing by Kaepernick in support, as previously reported by SB Nation. In response to this Donald Trump hosted a rally and said he wanted NFL owners to tell players who protested, “get that son of a b*tch off the field.”

It’s a disgusting comment, obviously, but much of the interesting rhetoric came from how notable figures and leaders from around the league responded to the quote. Publicly, at the time, Kraft released a statement that read, “I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the president.” It seemed like a mild statement to release, but it made sense when one considered that Trump and Kraft were friends and the latter didn’t want to upset the former.

However, TMZ recently acquired an audio recording of comments Robert Kraft made to figures around the league, including owners and players, during a 2017 summit.

“The elephant in the room now in my opinion is this kneeling, which every player has a right to do if they feel it’s right," Kraft reportedly stated. "The problem we have is, we have a president that will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interest of the matter. It’s divisive and it’s horrible. And it’s actually the opposite of what you all are trying to do.”

The video shared below contains the audio of Kraft’s quotes. It was shared last Friday by TMZ Sports and quickly went viral on YouTube.

How do you feel about this audio? Should it have been shared with more people than just NFL colleagues? Should Kraft have gone public with these comments, rather than the ones he opted for? Do moments like this give you a path forward for reconciling Kraft’s past acts and controversies that have rightfully come under fire?

There’s much to think about regarding this story. I’m surprised Trump hasn’t taken to Twitter yet to comment on it.

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