Drew Brees became a trending topic on Twitter Wednesday afternoon after saying he would disapprove of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem this upcoming season: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
The New Orleans Saints quarterback explained when he hears the anthem he thinks of his grandfathers that fought in the military and taking a knee during the song would disrespect the flag.
Highlight: @readdanwrite asks @drewbrees what the star NFL quarterback thinks about "players kneeling again when the NFL season starts."@drewbrees: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) June 3, 2020
Full exchange: pic.twitter.com/MpCkFyOMed
Many online found the comments insensitive or ill-informed given the nationwide outcry against systemic racial injustice in this country in response to police brutality, and more specifically the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police Custody last month.
Some protests have transitioned into rioting or looting, which has some calling for only peaceful protesting.
Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the national anthem to peacefully protest police brutality in 2016. Following that season and becoming an unrestricted free-agent, he has not been signed by any NFL franchise. He reached a settlement with the NFL to set aside his lawsuit for collusion to keep him out of the league in February 2019.
Current-San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted that Brees is "beyond lost."
He’s beyond lost. Guarantee you there were black men fighting along side your grandfather but this doesn’t seem to be about that. That uncomfortable conversation you are trying to avoid by injecting military into a conversation about brutality and equality is part of the problem https://t.co/ON81UsOWPw pic.twitter.com/HH3EVTIH8p— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) June 3, 2020
Among those criticizing Brees were multiple players on the Oregon Ducks football team, which itself has been outspoken in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement with Coach Cristobal even attending a rally in Eugene, Oregon.
[RELATED]: Oregon football, CFB coaches call for change amid death of George Floyd
Saints fan Thomas Graham. Jr said he "lost mad respect" for Brees while Johnny Johnson III called him a clown.
And if you know me you know I’m the biggest saints fan out— Thomas Graham Jr. (@_TG4__) June 3, 2020
Straight 🤡 foreal— JOHNNY JOHNSON III (@johnnny_yamms) June 3, 2020
Additionally, senior defensive tackle Jordon Scott retweeted the following tweets condemning Brees' comments, including one from Tennesse Titans wide receiver AJ Brown.
DREW BREES PLAYS FOR NEW ORLEANS BUT STILL DONT SEE WHY BLACK PPL FIGHT FOR EQUALITY..— solecito (@isaiahrashad) June 3, 2020
If you don’t speak up about racism, then you’re apart of the problem. This man said the flag ... trash— AJ Brown (@Brown1arthur) June 3, 2020
Former Ducks safety also spoke out against Brees.
If you think kneeling divided a locker room. Wait to you see how Brees’ comment effects the Saints locker room. Sheesh! What a lack of empathy for your fellow teammates and so called “brothers”. He really practiced that too. Smh— T.J. Ward (@BossWard43) June 3, 2020
Former Oregon basketball player Chris Boucher was also disappointed in Brees' comments.
Wth Drew Brees Come on man— Chris Boucher (@chrisboucher) June 3, 2020
He wasn't the only NBA player to do so. Lakers star LeBron James also chimed in.
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 https://t.co/pvUWPmh4s8— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 3, 2020
Even Brees' own teammates tweeted their disapproval of his comments including Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Alvin Kamara.
He don’t know no better.— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 3, 2020
We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 3, 2020
June 3, 2020
Smh.. Ignorant— Emmanuel Sanders (@ESanders_10) June 3, 2020
oop...— Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) June 3, 2020