New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has become a target of outrage after striking a nerve with his tone deaf comments about kneeling protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” said Brees during an interview with Yahoo Finance.
He went on to say that standing for the anthem was a means of paying respect to the military, as well as those who were on the front lines of the civil rights movement.
“And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. 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,” added the football star.
His comments were immensely met with backlash from celebrities and other sports figures.
“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,” tweeted Los Angeles Lakers Lebron James.
“Drew Brees you gotta be a little more sensitive to the timing, bruh. You can’t just be saying s–t out your ass,” said Stephen Jackson in a video posted to social. Jackson and Floyd were long-time family friends. The retired NBA player even refers to his friend as “Twin.” Jackson added, “Ain’t no straddling the fence…f–k Drew Brees.”
Even Bernice King, daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke her peace about Brees having an issue with the wrong kneeling.
After 24 hours of facing backlash from his comments, Brees issued a lengthy apology on social.
In part, he wrote:
“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.”
Though some were able to forgive, there are others who feel the damage is already done. In the comments of his public apology most people held nothing back.
“You have a great PR person so tell them thank you for writing such a good speech now go sit in the corner.”
“You already said what you believe. You were the golden boy in NOLA and you realized you may have lost that.”