Tom Brady: 'It was great' players took a knee during anthem before NFL games in 2017

The primary headline of Tom Brady's interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Sunday was Brady saying he planned to walk away from football "sooner rather than later." (Never mind that mathematically this should be obvious to everyone; Brady is 40 years old.) 

But also coming out of that interview is Brady saying "it was great" to see people take knees during the national anthem, an interesting stance from one of the league's most recognizable faces in the wake of the NFL making it a violation of league policy to take a knee on the field when the anthem plays in 2018

"I think there were a lot of really good, healthy conversations coming out of it in our locker room. The great part about sports are the relationships. I've been in it for a long time. I've been with guys from all different parts of the country -- every color, race, belief and you know what ... I respect what people are doing. And they're doing it for different reasons, and that's okay," Brady said. "You know, you can do things for your reason. They can do things for their reason, and you have respect for that. But, I thought it was great."

Brady also talked about how the Patriots locked arms during the period of time last year when things got particularly heated. President Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Alabama, criticizing NFL players, and a large portion of the league responded on the field.

This included the Patriots, with Brady saying after the team locked arms that he believed Trump's comments were "divisive.

He told Winfrey in the recent interview the Patriots had meetings about how to handle things and ultimately settled on locking arms before the game. 

"Yeah we had meetings after practice talking about we wanted to deal with that particular situation at the time -- taking a knee. We chose to lock arms and we put arms around each other. You know, we support what people are going through. I've been playing sports long enough, everyone comes from something different. I think showing respect for everybody is, with a locker room full of guys trying to go the same direction, you better have that empathy for everybody. That's what sports are all about." 

Leading up to the 2016 election, Brady noted publicly on multiple occasions that he was "friends" with Trump and voted for the Republican candidate. The Patriots quarterback spent a fair amount of time during the 2016 NFL season dodging questions about his relationship with the President-elect. 

He has walked back the relationship a bit at various times, and Trump was reportedly upset about the quarterback distancing himself in the context of their relationship.

The issue of taking a knee for Brady shouldn't come up in 2018, thanks in large part to the new policy that will require any player who does not want to show respect to the national anthem to remain in the locker room before games begin.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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