New Orleans Saints star Drew Brees offended scores of people when he made the outrageous comment that he will "never agree with anyone who disrespects" the American flag. Of course, I'm being sarcastic. There's nothing wrong with the comment, and I'm sure many Americans agreed with him. In fact, for many football fans, I'm sure it was a welcome sentiment two years after the NFL was steeped in controversy after Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against minorities.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Brees explained why he had no intention of taking back his remarks.
"I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regard to fighting for racial equality and justice," he said. "I also stand with my grandfathers, who risked their lives for this country, and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."
Highlight: “I think my response via social media today was basically to reinforce my belief that God created us all equal and I think that we all have a responsibility to love each other and to respect each other,” New Orleans Saints Quarterback @drewbrees says. pic.twitter.com/Uqng8tYDpu— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) June 3, 2020
But, in the era of race riots in the aftermath of the shocking police killing of George Floyd, even this innocuous comment from Brees is now a problem, and critics came from all sides to condemn him. Even his own teammates ripped him. Malcolm Jenkins, safety for the Saints, said that he was "hurt" by the QB and that his comments were "extremely self-centered."
We all know how the story ends. Brees backed down and apologized.
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… https://t.co/Jg36d0Ad0l— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) June 4, 2020
Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy provided the perfect response to Brees's capitulation, so I'll let him take it from here.
HoF Coach @TonyDungy, the first black coach to win a Super Bowl, responds to @drewbrees comments on kneeling for the anthem:— Micah ‘Mortality’ Rate (@Micah_Rate) June 4, 2020
“Drew Brees can’t be afraid to say that and we can’t be afraid to say, ‘Ok, I don’t agree with you, but let’s talk about this.’”pic.twitter.com/RwoNm7utmK