Panthers owner David Tepper: 'Dead wrong' to call NFL players' protests unpatriotic

New Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper could not disagree more with the assertion that NFL players who protest during the pregame playing of the national anthem are unpatriotic.

Visiting Carnegie Mellon University on Thursday, Tepper told CNBC's Scott Wapner on "Halftime Report" that it's "dead wrong" to characterize players who have protested to promote racial equality, better policing and criminal justice reform as anti-military or anti-American. He added that those who've protested "are some of the most patriotic people and best people."

"That was the biggest pile of bull-dingy ever," he said. "These are some of the most patriotic people and best people. These are great young men. It just makes me so aggravated and angry. OK? It's just wrong. It's just dead wrong."

Tepper backed his opinions by highlighting how much certain NFL players contribute to their communities, noting that many who've stood up -- or knelt -- for social justice have also done things to promote change.

His comments come a day after Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, who continues to demonstrate during the anthem, received an award, not to mention praise from Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, for his "contributions to social justice."

Tepper has been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump. While he's financially backed Republican presidential candidates as recently as 2016, the businessman and former hedge fund manager once called the president "narcissistic." A former minority owner of the Steelers, Tepper purchased the Panthers in May from team founder Jerry Richardson for an NFL-record $2.275 billion.

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