Drew Brees was sharply criticized by fellow high-profile athletes, including some of his own teammates, on Wednesday after the Saints quarterback reiterated his opposition to kneeling during the U.S. national anthem.
In an interview with Yahoo, Brees was asked to revisit former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 protest of police brutality against minorities, in which Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem before games.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States,” Brees began, adding that the national anthem reminds him of his grandfathers, who served in the armed forces during the Second World War.
“In many cases, it brings me to tears thinking about all that has been sacrificed, and not just in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.”
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 <a href=”https://t.co/pvUWPmh4s8″>https://t.co/pvUWPmh4s8</a>
Critical responses to Brees’s statements appeared on social media from a couple major professional athletes, including the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins.
I recorded a few videos when thinking of how to respond to Drew Brees, I don’t take any of it back-I meant what I said-I removed the 1st video because I knew it be more about the headlines. I want people to understand how those of us struggling with what’s going on feel <a href=”https://t.co/T054qt0YEz”>pic.twitter.com/T054qt0YEz</a>
Jenkins was Brees’s teammate when the Saints won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season, but spent the past six seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before returning to New Orleans this off-season.
Brees has said he supports those protesting police brutality but that he does not see the national anthem as the proper forum for that. In 2017, Brees participated with teammates who knelt before the national anthem, but then stood in unison when the anthem was played.