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."
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
Drew Brees...— Troy Brown Jr (@Troy_Brown33) June 3, 2020
Wait a second... 🧐— Troy Brown Jr (@Troy_Brown33) June 3, 2020
Didn’t Drew Brees take a knee with his African American teammates during the time that Colin Kaepernick was fighting for racial injustice...?
So all of that was fake... smh
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.
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
men who fought as well for this country. I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitement. He never found Kap peaceful protest offensive because he and I both know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong! God bless you. 🙏🏾✊🏾👑— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 3, 2020
(Warning, there's a curse word in the end of Jenkins' comments):
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 pic.twitter.com/T054qt0YEz— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) June 3, 2020
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.
“It has NEVER been about an anthem or a flag. Not then. Not now.”— Mark Ingram II (@markingram21) June 3, 2020
THANK YOU for speaking truth for the oppresssed and unheard.
THANK YOU for understanding the WHY. @AaronRodgers12 🙏🏾✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/khGyOSF2wL
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.
Former Raven and current Packers edge rusher Za’Darius Smith posted a picture on Instagram about the Packers/Saints game on Sept. 27, when he’ll face Drew Brees in New Orleans.— Andrew Gillis (@Andrew_Gillis70) June 4, 2020
Current Ravens edge rusher Matthew Judon responded: “Let me get a ticket.” pic.twitter.com/wrJqLCqtCo