Tom Brady on anthem protests: ‘We support what people are going through’

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady discussed this week his reaction to NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, saying he respects "why people are doing what they're doing." 

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Brady expanded on how the Patriots reacted to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE's comments last year that players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired. He also said the controversy over the comments prompted several helpful conversations about the players' protests.

"We support what people are going through," Brady said. "I've been playing sports long enough. Everyone comes from something different. And I think showing respect for everybody is — you know, in a locker room with a team of guys trying to go in the same direction, you better have that empathy for everybody." 

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More than a dozen Patriots players kneeled during the national anthem during a September game last year. Brady and others elected to lock arms show their solidarity.  

“I just think there’s just great love for my teammates,” Brady said at the time. “I got a lot of love and respect for my teammates and opponents.” 

But Brady would not comment directly on Trump's comments then, and did not discuss Trump's role in the issue with Winfrey. 

Trump reignited his attacks against NFL players last week by disinviting the Super Bowl Champion team, the Philadelphia Eagles, from the White House. Several Eagles players are outspoken critics of the president and had previously said they would not attend the ceremony. 

Among other things, Trump has said that players who kneel for the anthem "maybe shouldn't be in the country."