Here's Audio of Robert Kraft Calling Donald Trump's Role in Anthem Debate 'Divisive' and 'Horrible'

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 19:  New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (C) delivers remarks during an event celebrating the team's Super Bowl win hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump on the South Lawn at the White House April 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. It was the team's fifth Super Bowl victory since 1960.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Donald Trump Hosts Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots At The White House | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

TMZ has just released audio of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft criticizing Donald Trump in a 2017 closed door meeting involving owners, players and executives right at the height of the NFL's kneeling controversy.

The New York Times reported the following spring on the existence of such comments, though this is the first time we're able to hear them for ourselves.

"I must tell you, I think these dialogues are great," Kraft says in a recording. "But the elephant in the room now, in my opinion, is this kneeling, which every player has a right to do if they feel it's right. The problem we have is, we have a president that will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don't feel is in the best interest of the matter.

"It's divisive, and it's horrible. And it's actually the opposite of what you all are trying to do."

Kraft and Trump are longtime friends. The comments have not seemed to hamper the goodwill on either side as the president continues to praise the owner, and the two shared a table at a state dinner this summer. They'll probably be paling around in the Rose Garden after the next inevitable Patriots' Super Bowl.