Ravens

Ravens

Comments from Drew Brees made in an interview with Yahoo Finance's Daniel Roberts about why he wouldn't support teammates kneeling during the national anthem when the NFL season started drew condemnation from throughout the sports world - including Wizards guard Troy Brown and Ravens' running back Mark Ingram.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said in the interview. 

"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."

Brown responded:

The photo with Brees kneeling is from 2017 when the Saints as a team knelt before the anthem and then stood up as a team. The gesture came after 10 Saints players sat during the national anthem in response to a tweet from Donald Trump encouraging people to boycott the NFL over players kneeling during the anthem as a way to draw attention to racial inequality and police violence. The Saints were one of many teams at the time who responded to Trump's words with additional protests.

While Brees has expressed that he is uncomfortable with kneeling during the anthem previously, his words in the Yahoo interview came at a time when many in the NFL and outside of it are pointing to Colin Kaepernick's protests that began in 2016, which were meant to draw attention to the police brutality like that of a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, sparking massive protests and unrest around the country today.

 

LeBron James and Brees' teammate Malcolm Jenkins were among the many other athletes who made strong statements against his comments.

(Warning, there's a curse word in the end of Jenkins' comments):

Ingram, Brees' former teammate, didn't call out Brees by name but did repost an Instagram photo from Aaron Rodgers, explaining why kneeling was never about disrespecting the flag. "THANK YOU for speaking truth for the oppresssed and unheard. THANK YOU for understanding the WHY," he wrote.

Ingram also retweeted this from Marques Colston:

Former Raven Za’Darius Smith posted an Instagram photo of the Week 3 matchup his Green Bay Packers will have against Drew Brees and the Saints, showing that he has made note of the quarterback's comments. Current Raven Matthew Judon chimed in as well, stating he's interested in watching.