The star quarterback of the New Orleans Saints faced major backlash for referring to kneeling during the Anthem as "disrespectful."
Star quarterback of the New Orleans Saints Drew Brees faced major backlash on Wednesday after declaring that he did not agree with the players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Standing his grounds, Brees said during an interview with Yahoo Finance that he can never agree with their gesture. "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," said the 41-year-old quarterback. "Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States," he continued, explaining that this gesture was equivalent to saluting the military for him.
I'm proud of my Marine Corps service, but it is a largely private pride. Today is a day when I felt I needed to put it out there.— Luke Johnson (@ByLukeJohnson) June 3, 2020
Drew Brees, you spoke. Now I need you to listen. https://t.co/iKw5hawBOb
The controversial comment came after Brees was asked about his view on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's 2016 protest of police brutality against minorities. Kaepernick had knelt during the national anthem to show his protest but Brees did not agree with the gesture. "I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corps. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about," he shared, reiterating his point.
Drew wasn’t talking about the current protest, the riots or really anything besides HIS feelings on kneeling during the National Anthem.He even explained what they were, the basis and that he actually stands with us. Do we have to entirely agree with him, no. https://t.co/KEkzqYj8HR— Marcus Davenport (@MarcusJD84) June 3, 2020
"And in many cases, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed. Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ‘60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution," he continued.
When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction.— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) May 28, 2020
The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance.
We have the right to fight back!
Rest in Power George Floyd
In a since-deleted Facebook video, Brees' teammate Malcolm Jenkins said that he was by the quarterback's comments. "Our communities are under siege, and we need help," said Jenkins, adding, "And what you're telling us is don't ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way. I can't listen to it when you ask that way. We're done asking, Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem." He added, "And it's unfortunate because I considered you a friend. I looked up to you. You're somebody who I had a great deal of respect for. But sometimes you should shut the f--- up."
Later, during an interview with ESPN, Brees stuck to his stance and added that his views in no way diminish the respect he has for his teammates and their fight for "racial equality and justice." In a text to ESPN, Brees wrote, "I believe we should all stand for the national anthem and respect our country and all those who sacrificed so much for our freedoms. That includes all those who marched for women's suffrage in the 1920s and all those who marched in the civil rights movements and continue to march for racial equality. All of us ... EVERYONE ... represent that flag. Same way I respect all the citizens of our country ... no matter their race, color, religion."
I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know… https://t.co/Jg36d0Ad0l— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) June 4, 2020
"I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regard to fighting for racial equality and justice," he expressed, adding, "I also stand with my grandfathers, who risked their lives for this country, and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."