Drew Brees Creates Controversy With Comments on Kneeling During Anthem

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the second half against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Drew Brees has recently received backlash over some comments he made regarding kneeling during the National Anthem. In an interview with Daniel Roberts from Yahoo Finance, Roberts asked Brees what he thinks about players kneeling again when the NFL season starts.

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”

Drew Brees

A controversial comment nonetheless, Brees has gotten backlash from many athletes and even teammate, Michael Thomas. Thomas took to Twitter to apologize for Brees’s words as he said “He [Brees] don’t know no better” and “We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.” 

Origins of the Kneeling Movement

SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.
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49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement of kneeling during the National Anthem in 2016. Kneeling before games has died off and not as many players do it due to the backlash they receive. Even though it’s faded from the NFL, protesters and even cops are resulting in taking a knee as a way of peaceful protest. It has become a symbol of justice towards racial inequality and police brutality.

Other athletes have also taken to social media to express their thoughts on Brees’s words. LeBron James tweeted “WOW MAN!!. Is it still surprising at this point? Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolutely nothing to do with the disrespect of and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free.”

Brees didn’t receive the memo from fellow athletes and teammates.

Even though Brees has disagreed with teammates and fellow athletes, NFL players have done exceptionally well helping out their communities. Many NFL players and staff participated in #blackouttuesday, a hashtag which were posts on Instagram to help promote the topic of racial inequality and how to help out.

Since Brees’s comments yesterday, he issued a statement on Instagram this morning.

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.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

The NFL may see more players kneeling next season, which brings up the conversation of whether they will allow it. League staff and players need to discuss kneeling during the National Anthem.

Players shouldn’t have to fight to use their freedom of speech. The league should allow players to kneel during the National Anthem to make a statement. Rather than threatening players by cuts and endorsement deals lost, the NFL should look upon it as a way to help the league. It is a terrifying time the world is in and the only way we can get through it is to fight for equality.