Patriots owner Bob Kraft won’t pick a side. Neither should you.

Photo: Reuters via Washington Post

Bob Kraft backed Donald Trump. Then he helped out the teenagers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who’d survived a school shooting. Which side is he on?

Until this weekend, you could put Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots firmly in the Trump column. He donated $1 million to Trump’s campaign. Trump read a letter of support from Patriots coach Bill Belichick at a rally and says Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a friend.

As documented by the Washington Post, the Patriots are the favorite team of the alt-right. White nationalist Richard Spencer is a fan; so is Breitbart News.

So when the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida needed to get to the gun-control themed March for Our Lives in Washington this weekend, who helped them get there and back?

Bob Kraft. They flew on the Patriots’ team plane, also known as the AirKraft.

According to Patriots’ spokesman Stacy James, Kraft responded to a call from Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman who was once a shooting victim herself, and her husband, Mark Kelly. As Kelly said, “Not only did their friends and teachers get shot and killed, other friends shot and injured . . . most of them, they had bullets flying over their heads. . . . This is not fair that they have to deal with something like this at their age.”

So, is Bob Kraft evil, or not?

Everything in our political environment tends to reinforce the idea that there are two teams: a red team and a blue team. You have to pick a side. If you believe in Democratic ideals, you have to hate Donald Trump and by extension, everyone who supported him. If you are a Trump supporter, then Democrats are evil and you are supposed to demonize anything liberal.

If you follow this philosophy, then it was clear. As a Democrat, you were supposed to boycott the bad, bad New England Patriots whose owner, coach, and quarterback supported Trump. As a Republican, you had to love the Patriots and hate their haters.

But Bob Kraft is having none of your narrative. He’s flying teenagers to Washington so they can create sympathy for gun control. The Patriots’ colors are blue and red, and Bob Kraft appears ready to help both.

This is only confusing if you think of the world in teams. It makes perfect sense to me.

Kraft is a thoughtful human being. He has sympathy for teenagers who’ve suffered trauma and are now speaking out. Does this mean he is now for gun control? Not necessarily. I have no idea if he’s still a Trump backer. Can we allow him to exist without picking a side?

I support my Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is attempting to restore financial regulations and sanity in foreign relations. I support my Republican Governor Charlie Baker, who has put the local transit authority on a solid financial footing and is protecting healthcare in Massachusetts.

And I have problems with Bob Kraft, not because he supported Trump, and not because he supported teenagers speaking out about gun control, and not because his team was accused of cheating with deflated footballs. I worry about his support of a sport that systematically causes brain damage.

But I’m trying to be thoughtful about political decisions and to understand others who are similarly thoughtful. It’s hard to see straight when you can’t figure out what to boycott and your contact lenses make everything look red or blue. Yes, it’s more effort to consider these issues one by one instead of voting for whoever’s on your team.

But it’s your duty as a citizen. I’m glad Bob Kraft thinks that way, and I hope you’ll join him.

This note was on each seat on the plane. Photo from “Only in Boston”

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  1. Great post highlighting the nuance many affluent people deal with when navigating their emotions, their businesses, families and friends.

    The Kraft Family has been very philanthropic for several decades (and, before they were involved with The Patriots, I saw this myself in the Boston area.) I’m no Patriots fan, but I salute Bob Kraft for making this happen.

    1. R. Landy – I think you missed the point of what Josh wrote at the end there: he wasn’t saying that it’s your duty to agree with anything, rather he was saying that it is your duty to consider each issue on it’s own – and not just agree with everything that “your side” says. I am inclined to agree with that.