‘I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) On Wednesday, NFL star Drew Brees said he would never agree with “disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”
But by Thursday morning, Brees issued a groveling apology amid a tsunami of angry activist backlash.
In a long Instagram explanation, the New Orleans Saints quarterback backtracked his pro-American comments, saying they were “insensitive” and “missed the mark.”
“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,” he wrote.
Less than 24-hours earlier, Brees spoke about the American flag with reverence and likened standing for the national anthem to saluting the military.
“I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corps. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about,” he said.
“And in many cases, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed,” he added.
A firestorm of controversy soon erupted.
Brees’s teammate Michael Thomas, a standout wide receiver, responded on Twitter, saying, “We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.” A second tweet said, “He don’t know no better.”
Emmanuel Sanders, another teammate, called Brees “ignorant.”
Basketball star Lebron James, who self-identifies as an activist, ripped Brees for not siding with disgraced former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“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 absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those,” 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 absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of ?? and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those https://t.co/pvUWPmh4s8
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 3, 2020
A torrent of online backlash and abuse continued, prompting Brees’s apology. However, the football star’s about-face hasn’t seemed to have quelled the online mobs or disapproving professional athletes.
“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,” he offered.
Brees has played 19 years in the NFL and is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. But according to his apology, he now believes he hasn’t done enough to fight racism.
“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,” he wrote.