New York Jets owner Christopher Johnson impresses players with show of solidarity

By Chris Mascaro, The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 25, 2017 at 8:09 PM
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FLORHAM PARK, N. J. -- New York Jets players raved over the manner in which owner Christopher Johnson took part in the team's response to President Donald Trump's inflammatory statements.

There was a team a meeting Saturday night followed by Johnson's show of unity Sunday, when he stood locking arms with them during the national anthem.

Other owners and coaches took part in their respective solidarity stands Sunday, but Johnson is part of a small group of owners with especially close ties to Trump. Johnson's older brother, Woody Johnson, was nominated by Trump to become to U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The statement Christopher Johnson made after kickoff was less about denouncing Trump and more about showing solidarity with his team. That said, the players seemed pleased with his gesture.

The team gave him a game ball after the win, and quarterback Josh McCown spoke for his teammates to their owner:

"Make sure you give our owner some love. He stood there and locked arms with us. Let me tell you something: People don't follow titles, they follow courage. And in the face of all this stuff, he stepped up with us. No matter who he was, to stand with us. That's a cool thing, man."

Added wide receiver Jermaine Kearse: "We had decided we were gonna do this as a team, and for him to come down and lock arms with us, it just made it that much better. It gave us the affirmation of saying, 'We're all in this together.'"

Johnson said he was "disappointed" in what Trump had to say, but added that he "would leave it to others to talk about."

"Unbelievable," rookie safety Jamal Adams said about locking arms with Johnson. "It shows how much he cares about this team. ... I was all for it. I walked up to him and said, 'I'm going stand right next to you.' ... We appreciate that as a team and it was outstanding."

On a conference call on Monday, head coach Todd Bowles likened Trump's comments to a fan yelling at players in the tunnel.

"You've got to put that out of your mind," Bowles added. "The biggest problem here is the issues. You focus on the issues. ... The issues are the things that happened in Charlottesville, and you've got hurricane victims here and there. You've got to focus on the issues, because the he-said, she-said and the Twitter beef and all that stuff really doesn't matter.

"We locked arms because we're united. We're trying to show that we can get things done as a country if unite together. We're trying to show unity within our team. We're trying to show unity for the league. And we're trying to show unity for everything all together that's inclusive. I'm not a big comment guy, no matter who said what. If it's not about solutions, the problems don't really matter, if you're not trying to find a solution."

An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that Christopher Johnson contributed to Trump's inauguration committee. He did not.

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