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Drew Brees tells Donald Trump that protests during national anthem have 'never been about the flag'

Drew Brees tells Donald Trump that protests during national anthem have 'never been about the flag' 1

Drew Brees wrote to President Donald Trump on Friday night that kneeling for the national anthem “has never been” about the American flag.

“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been,” Brees wrote on his Instagram feed. “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.”

To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

“We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform,” Brees also wrote.

Brees’ post was a response to what Trump tweeted about him earlier in the evening. The president wrote that Brees should not have “taken back” what he said Wednesday — that he could “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country” by not standing for the anthem. Trump also typed, “There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag — NO KNEELING!”

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MORE: Aaron Rodgers says protests have never been about anthem, flag

Brees issued two public apologies Thursday for his comments to Yahoo Finance, and he also apologized to his Saints teammates in a previously scheduled team meeting.

MORE: Goodell doesn’t quite say what NFL players want to hear

Trump has consistently criticized Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players for kneeling to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the U.S., saying they’re disrespecting the flag and U.S. military. The protests began with Kaepernick in 2016, the year Trump was elected.

After Brees made his comments Wednesday, Twitter users posted images of the quarterback and his family posing for photos with Trump and first lady Melania Trump at this year’s College Football Playoff title game in New Orleans. The posts were mostly visual statements criticizing Brees for associating with the president.

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