David Tepper, the Carolina Panthers owner, has waded into the NFL national anthem controversy by stating that it is "dead wrong" to brand protesting players as unpatriotic.
"These are some of the most patriotic people and best people. These are great young men," Tepper told CNBC. "So to say that [they aren't patriotic] makes me so aggravated and angry. It's just wrong, it's dead wrong."
It appeared that Tepper was attacking Donald Trump – “a red-headed guy in DC that likes to talk about it but I don’t want to mention his name right now" – in his comments.
On Sunday, Trump claimed the continuing protests are the reason why NFL ratings have dropped. “If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!” Trump tweeted.
So far this season, however, there have been very few national anthem protests. On Sunday, Miami Dolphins team-mates Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson were the only players to take a knee.