SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — New Orleans Saints’ star quarterback Drew Brees is facing backlash after making his first comments on the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
Brees was asked about his view on Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem and how he as a leader in the league can help make a difference.
Brees’ first words: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Words that have now sparked controversy and gotten a response from professional athletes like Bree’s teammate Michael Thomas and Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James.
“You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of [the American flag] and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free,” James tweeted.
Thomas had one simple response: “He don’t know no better.”
When former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick remained seated during the national anthem before a game in 2016, his reasoning was simple:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” he said. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
His actions started a movement and shed light on police brutality in the United States. It later became a lot of back-and-forth with the NFL and President Donald Trump.
Players across the league joined Kap by also kneeling during the national anthem, even NBA players began shining light in their own ways like wearing “I can’t breathe” warmup tees and customized shoes.
But by the following season, it cost Kaepernick his job.
However, his movement gained even more attention and momentum. After President Trump criticized the movement, more players began to kneel in solidarity — peacefully.
Fast-forward to nearly four years later and some are finally starting to understand why Kap took a knee. At the same time, there remains those who just still don’t get it or refuse to accept the reasoning.
Brees continued to express what the American flag means to him and why he believes everyone should respect it.
“Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers who fought for this country during WWII, one in the army and one in the marine corps, both risking their lives to protect our country and to try and make our country and this world a better place,” Brees said. “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.
And in many cases it brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed. Not just for those in the military, but for those throughout the civil rights movements of the 60s and everyone and all that has been endured by so many people up until this moment. And is everything right with our country right now? No it’s 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 hour 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.”
The death of George Floyd has sparked national and even global outrage after he died under the hands of police.
Peaceful protests have turned violent. People are angry.
When you’re told riots and looting aren’t the way, but peaceful protesting is — you think to yourself, “Oh, kind of like what Colin Kaepernick was doing?”
But after Kap lost his job for peacefully protesting and then there are people who are getting seriously injured during protests today — what is the right way?
Everyone is talking about trying to be a part of the solution, but maybe the first step to finding a solution is understanding.
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