Ryan Mayer

The Atlanta Falcons are getting ready for the biggest game of the NFL season on Sunday as they get set to take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising for the players and owner of the team to not want to comment on what is going on in the world outside of football during the run-up to the big game. We’ve already seen Patriots coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady side-step questions involving President Trump and his actions since the inauguration by repeating some variation of the trope “I’m just focused on football”.

Some involved in the Falcons organization have taken a different tact in Houston, openly giving their thoughts on the President and more specifically, his controversial executive order that effectively banned immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries. One of those people is team owner Arthur Blank, who expressed concerns over the president’s actions in this column from Newsday’s Bob Glauber. Here are some of Blank’s comments:

“I’m troubled by anything directionally in our country that separates people,” said Blank, who is Jewish. “America started without any of us, other than Native American Indians. This country was built on inclusion and diversity, on celebration of those differences, supporting those differences, and everybody being the very best they can be in their own way. I’m opposed to anything that takes away from that.

“That’s what makes America great,” Blank said, “is the melting pot of what makes this country great and the abilities and capacities and commitments to all those people that came from around the world to settle here because they saw a dream and a vision.”

Blank also commented with concern over the statement made by the president on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which stirred up some controversy by not mentioning the six million Jewish people who were killed during World War II. Blank isn’t alone in the sports world in expressing his concern as the NBA, Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and many others have spoken out in recent days about the ban.


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