The NFL owners have mostly avoided engaging President Donald Trump's criticisms of the league. Not Shad Khan, though. The owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars came after Trump hard in an interview, saying the president is attacking the league out of jealousy.
From USA Today Sports:
“This is a very personal issue with him. He’s been elected President, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely,” said Khan, who bought the Jags in 2011 for $760 million. “So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.” (Trump attempted — unsuccessfully — to purchase the Buffalo Bills in 2014.)
“Let’s get real. The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews. I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive. Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”
He went on to talk about Trump's immigration bans:
“That’s one aspect that you can imagine — someone is getting a visa that will change their life is from a Muslim-majority country — and, now, boom, that dream to change lives, they get locked out. That’s a hell of a lot more significant than fighting some sponsors or people who want their money back because they’ve been riled up.”
What was he responding to?
Trump criticized the NFL again on Twitter on Wednesday for not implementing a rule requiring players to stand during the national anthem.
The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1508324766.0
.@NFL: Too much talk, not enough action. Stand for the National Anthem.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1508359325.0
Khan's history with Trump
Khan was one of only seven NFL owners to financially support Trump. He donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration fund. He said he was intrigued by Trump's economic policies, and he doesn't regret it, despite how little he thinks of the job Trump has done so far.
Khan is a self-made billionaire immigrant from Pakistan who founded an auto parts company. He has criticized Trump in the past, calling him a "divider, not a uniter."