New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees probably thought that sharing his beliefs about the American flag would be harmless. But it looks like he got quite the wakeup call after countless people called him out for sounding ignorant. During his interview with Yahoo Finance, he was asked to share his thoughts about former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's open protest against racism. However, what he said was met with sharp criticism.
How exactly did Drew respond, and why are so many people bothered by his answer? Has the quarterback apologized since then? Here's everything you need to know.
What did Drew Brees say in response to the question about Colin Kaepernick?
In addition to mentioning police brutality and the possibility of players kneeling during the national anthem in the future, the reporter asked Drew how he thought the NFL should respond to this. Drew immediately said: "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America, or our country."
He explained his view by elaborating on how he feels when he looks at the flag and when the national anthem is played.
He continued: "I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. 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 also suggested that while there are issues in this country, it's no excuse to disrespect the flag. He said: "We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better, and that we are all part of the solution."
Listeners and athletes called Drew Bree out for his insensitive comments.
The 41-year-old drew criticism from both fans and fellow athletes, including Richard Sherman, LeBron James, and Players Coalition cofounder Malcolm Jenkins.
Richard tweeted that "He’s beyond lost" and "part of the problem," while LeBron expressed his shock, saying that these protests have "absolutely nothing to do with the disrespect of the American flag and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those."
Malcolm, however, took things a bit further by uploading a few emotional videos to clearly explain why Drew's seemingly innocent comments were so harmful.
He said: "To think that your grandfathers served in this country and you have a great respect for the flag, that everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts that you do is ridiculous. And it shows that you don't know history. Because when our grandfathers fought and served in this country, they didn’t come back to a hero’s welcome. They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms. They came back to racism. To violence."
He continued: "Our communities are under siege, and we need help. 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."
Drew Brees' apology was shared on social media.
It didn't take long for Drew to get the hint. Soon after the backlash ensued, he took to Instagram to share his apology, where he acknowledged that his comments were hurtful.
He said: "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."
He then took the opportunity to clarify his stance, saying that he's an ally and that he stands with the Black community in fighting systemic racism. He continued: "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."
Unfortunately, some people thought that his apology was fake. Many even assumed that he had a PR team create the response for him, but on a brighter note, Malcolm saw it as sincere and chose to forgive him.
He tweeted: "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."