New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has faced backlash from the sports world following his comments regarding protesting during the national anthem, including from several Minnesota Vikings figures.
Yahoo Finance’s editor Daniel Roberts asked Brees what he thinks if “players kneeling again when the NFL season starts.”
Brees responded, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Highlight: @readdanwrite asks @drewbrees what the star NFL quarterback thinks about “players kneeling again when the NFL season starts.”@drewbrees: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Full exchange: pic.twitter.com/MpCkFyOMed
— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) June 3, 2020
The statement has been called tone-deaf, insensitive and poorly-timed amid social turmoil following the death of George Floyd.
Since, Brees’ teammates and athletes from the NFL, NBA and other sports have shared their disappointment in Brees, who otherwise had a sterling reputation in the NFL.
Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson was one of the first Vikings to respond, echoing the point of Brees’ not understanding the purpose of the protest.
Damn. Hate to see it from a “legend” @drewbrees you corny man. You clearly have no idea what’s going on.
— Jaleel Johnson (@leellxvii) June 3, 2020
Former cornerback Captain Munnerlyn shared a video of him slamming Brees to the ground during a game in 2014.
Vikings Hall of Famer and legendary wide receiver Cris Carter approved of messages from Malcolm Jenkins and Brees’ top target and teammate Michael Thomas, who spoke out against his quarterback despite leading the NFL in receiving yards a season ago.
Thomas’ point was that despite Brees’ feelings of what the anthem means to him, he gave no thought to how players of color may not see it the same way (InsidetheVikings’ Will Ragatz explains in more detail here).
— Cris Carter (@criscarter80) June 3, 2020
Mad respect for @Cantguardmike
— Cris Carter (@criscarter80) June 4, 2020
Brees issued an apology for his “insensitive” comments after a full day of criticism, posting this message on his social media accounts:
View this post on Instagram
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.
Thomas responded accepting Brees’ apology and reminded the public of the larger issues on hand.
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
Follow Trevor Squire on Twitter: @trevordsquire