Drew Brees may have talked himself into a bad spot, but it seems like at least a few of his teammates are willing to forgive him.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, the Saints quarterback reiterated his stance against kneeling during the national anthem, saying he’ll “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.” Meanwhile, Brees completely ignored the issue — police brutality and racial injustice against black people — of which those protests, as well as the ongoing protests in the country, have been trying to address.
New Orleans safety Malcom Jenkins was particularly frustrated with Brees’ later self-admitted lack of awareness, saying that he once had respect for Brees, “But sometimes (he) should shut the f— up.”
“Our communities are under siege and we need help,” Jenkins said. “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.”
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After the backlash, Brees issued an apology on Instagram on Thursday morning, saying he “completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.”
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 the pain I have caused. In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening…and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.
A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on
“(My comments) lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.”
A handful of Saints players accepted Brees’ apology, which did include a denouncement of racial injustice and police brutality.
His backfield partner, Alvin Kamara, tweeted that he was “disappointed and hurt” by Brees’ comments, but he reached out to Brees and the two came to an understanding.
I’ve had a day to digest the comments that Drew made. I was disappointed and hurt. We talked and i explained to him where he dropped the ball and he understood. But now it’s time for us to be part of the solution, not the problem. We have to educate to progress.
— Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) June 4, 2020
New Orleans linebacker Demario Davis went on CNN to commend Brees for his apology.
“For him to admit that he was wrong.. I think that is leadership at its finest.”
Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas tweeted in support of Brees, saying “he apologized (and) I accept it because that’s what we are taught as Christians.” He then sent out a series of tweets reminding people that the issue —the reason all of these protests are going on nationwide — is to bring an end to police brutality and racial injustice.
One of my brothers made a public statement yesterday that I disagreed with. He apologized & I accept it because that’s what we are taught to do as Christians. Now back to the movement! #GeorgeFloyd
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 4, 2020
Let’s focus back on the real issue going on in the world. And not get distracted.
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 4, 2020
“Let’s focus back on the real issue going on in the world,” Thomas wrote. “And not get distracted.”