Jaguars owner Shad Khan called President Donald Trump “the great divider” on Thursday during a candid interview with a Chicago publication, citing that the president has garnered success politically by dividing groups against each other.
Khan, 67, who previously provided $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, made the statements during an executive conference for Crain’s Who’s Who in Chicago Business, according to the business publication.
He brought up Trump's strategy by mentioning Trump’s former advisor Steve Bannon, who is the executive chairman of far-right website, Breitbart News. Khan said in order to appeal and grow the political base for Trump, “Steve Bannon or whoever is analyzing the data realizes, ‘How do I get elected?’ I get elected by dividing this person or this group against this group. What are the worst fears, phobias somebody has, how do I tap that button and get them with my people. There’s a lot of predictive behavior here.”
He continued by stating that: “What (Trump) has done is shown leadership as the great divider, not uniter. We are used to being warm and fuzzy and cuddled. Well, it’s a different time.”
The Chicago publication also states Khan discussed the controversy swirling around the some of the Jaguars players’ decision to kneel during the national anthem prior to their victory against the Baltimore Ravens in London in September. The Jaguars owner linked arms with his players as a sign of solidarity with them.
The kneeling protest by the Jaguars stemmed from vitriolic comments Trump made during a speech, cursing at any players who decide to kneel during the anthem. Trump also said those players should be fired from their respective teams.
“I had heard from a lot of the players what their feelings were, how offended they were by (Trump’s comments) and what they were going to do and my concern was that they don’t do anything to hurt themselves,” Khan said during the conference. “We wanted to do something as a team because a team divided against itself cannot stand.”
Khan also said you have to give Trump credit, because people are confused on the First Amendment and patriotism, since some believe if you exercise your First Amendment right, then you’re not a patriot. Khan calls that notion “crazy.” He added that Trump is taking advantage of the situation and is using it yet again as means to divide the country on the topic.
NFL owners are meeting next week in New York to discuss the national anthem controversy, according to Crain’s Chicago Business publication.
During the conference in Chicago, Khan also vocalized support for a $20/hour minimum wage so that more Americans can move out of poverty status.
Read more about Khan’s comments at the conference here.
The Jaguars, currently 3-2, play the Los Angeles Rams at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at Everbank Field in Jacksonville.