By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editorpgreen@afro.com

Multiple NFL owners have admitted that they were influenced to crack down on players kneeling in protest after having actual conversations with President Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A recently leaked secret recording of a meeting between players and owners last year had already exposed several of the owners acknowledging Trump’s criticism of the league as the motivation behind their interest in stopping players from kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem in protest of racism and police brutality. But according to the Wall Street Journal, there’s now evidence of at least one of the owners actually having a conversation with the President about his displeasure with players protesting.

Then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels during the national anthem before the team’s NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, in San Diego in 2016. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

“This is a very winning, strong issue for me,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Trump told him during a phone call, as reported by the WSJ. “Tell everybody, you can’t win this one. This one lifts me.”

Jones shared details of his phone conversation with Trump during a deposition. Jones was one of several owners who were deposed by Colin Kaepernick’s attorneys as a part of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s grievance suit filed against the league for alleged collusion.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was also one of the owners deposed and reportedly mentioned that New England Patriots owner Bob Craft told him he had also personally talked with Trump about players kneeling. Ross admitted that Trump swayed his opinion on how people perceived the players’ form of protest.

“I was totally supportive of until Trump made his statement,” Ross said in his deposition, according to the WSJ. “ changed the dialogue.”

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor