Super Bowl Opening Night took place at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Monday, and a topic of conversation surrounding the event was President Donald Trump.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank expressed concern about Trump because on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Trump’s commemorating statement did not specifically mention the six million Jews who were killed during World War II. Blank himself is Jewish.
“I’m troubled by anything directionally in our country that separates people,” Blank told Newsday. “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.
“Obviously, it’s a tragic time in the history of the world, not only for Jewish individuals, but for non-Jews as well,” Blank said. “And so I think it always deserves recognition, it always deserves to remind us of certain characteristics that can take place and to make sure they’re not seen in any form or fashion in any of our democracies or institutions around the world.”
Blank was not the only one at the event to comment on the president. Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu said he knew that Trump was going to come up. “Obviously, my name’s Mohamed,” he said.
Sanu called Trump’s executive order that suspended entry of all refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations “a tough situation.”
Sanu grew up in a Muslim family in New Jersey, and also spent time in Sierra Leone. His mother still lives there, and he said that he still worries about her travels despite Sierra Leone not being mentioned in the ban.
“I’m always concerned when you have somebody in your family traveling,” he said. “Something may go wrong with the plane or injury. You never know. You just hope for the best and pray she gets here safely.
“I just pray we live in a country and a world that can be united. It’s hard for me to talk about this right now. It would take a lot of time. I just want to focus on the game and talk about football.”
Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett said if the Patriots won the Super Bowl, he would “most likely not” go to the White House because he doesn’t support Donald Trump.