Legendary retired NFL running back Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns, who had supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race, says that he has an admiration for President-elect Donald Trump after meeting with him to discuss how to provide opportunities for the African-American community.
On Dec. 13, Brown and retired linebacker Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens arrived at Trump Tower with Cleveland pastor Darrell Scott to hold a meeting with the president-elect, Sports Illustrated reports.
That evening, Brown discussed the meeting during an interview with CNN, telling host Anderson Cooper that the meeting was "About the state of black America. … We need education. We need jobs."
The retired running back recalled that Trump had been receptive during their meeting that was in contrast to his behavior on the campaign trail, stating that his personal introduction to the business mogul "was like meeting a different person."
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Brown also chastised Clinton supporters who continue to resist the legitimacy of Trump assuming the White House, deeming their defiance to be counterproductive.
"Well in my opinion, people that go against the election are going against America. … So my point is, if we respect the winner and approach that person, have access to that person and that person will look at what we are presenting, that is not too bad," Brown said.
On Dec. 14, Brown sat down with CNN again to discuss his meeting at Trump Tower. The retired running back revealed that he admired the president-elect, despite supporting his opponent during the election.
"When he goes through what he went through to become the president, he got my admiration," Brown said. "No one gave him a chance."
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Brown added that he was deeply impressed by Pastor Scott, who had supported Trump throughout the presidential election, according to the International Business Times.
"I can't speak for the pastor, but I fell in love with him, because he really talks about helping African-American [people and] that's why I'm here," Brown said.
The retired running back's comment had initially appeared to be in reference to Trump, but he clarified that he was speaking about his dawning love for Scott.
"I was talking about my partner sitting right here," Brown said, motioning to the pastor. "I was talking to the man who got us together. The man who's been the catalyst. The man who has represented."
The NFL legend then quipped, "Well, I fell in love with Trump a long time ago."
Trump drew a poor showing among African-Americans on election day, only drawing 8 percent of their vote, reports The Washington Post.
On Dec. 9, the business mogul gave what could be considered a backhanded compliment to the community, thanking African-Americans who had skipped the polls on election day.
"The African American community was great to us," Trump said during a congratulatory rally in Michigan. "They came through, big league. Big league. And frankly if they had any doubt, they didn't vote, and that was almost as good because a lot of people didn't show up, because they felt good about me."
Brown was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1971. The retired football player has been an activist for people of color and urban communities, founding a program called Amer-I-Can to help provide opportunities for disadvantaged people.
On Dec. 13, reporter Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post tweeted out an interview he had had with Brown, when the retired running back said that he hoped to form a program with Trump's help that would help raise "the kind of resources that you'd need, private resources that could be effective out there… there's money out there in the private sector that could be applied to training and hiring these young people in our communities."