Drew Brees got an earful from teammates and other pro athletes, such as LeBron James, for what he said Wednesday about protests during the national anthem. Then people in New Orleans let him have it.
Marchers at a rally to protest police brutality and racial inequality cursed out the longtime Saints quarterback and city icon as they moved down a city street. (WARNING: Obscene language in the below video.)
Brees said in an interview with Yahoo Finance that kneeling for the anthem, which former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started in 2016, is disrespectful to the American flag and those who served in the armed forces, such as Brees’ grandfathers.
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Several current and former Saints players, including Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins, posted their strong disagreement on Twitter. Mark Ingram and Marques Colston also weighed in.
More backlash came from two high-profile New Orleans/Louisiana people.
Pro Football of Famer Ed Reed (born in Saint Rose) called a Brees a “chump” and a “punk” in an Instagram video. “I see Drew Brees is doing his part in keeping black folk down,” Reed opened.
Actor Wendell Pierce (born in New Orleans) wrote of the experiences of his father, who he said is a World War II vet just like Brees’ grandfathers. The main difference in his father’s service, Pierce said, was how he was treated when he returned stateside.
To @DrewBrees :My 95yr old father fought in WWII at Saipan risking his life for the United States of America, a country that had little respect for himWhen he returned to New Orleans he was denied his right to vote, his right to live where he wanted & most of his civil rights…
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) June 3, 2020
Luke Johnson, who covers for the Saints for The Advocate and The Times-Picayune, wrote that as someone who served in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was not bothered by players taking a knee.
“I’m simply asking you to hear this, from me, one service member among thousands: I love my country, and I love the flag that represents it, but my service was never for pieces of land or fabric. The four years I spent in the Marine Corps were given to protect the freedoms we enjoy in this country.
Freedoms like protesting injustice, and by calling racism by its name when you see it. Nothing gets more American.”