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Drew Brees apologizes for comments on kneeling during national anthem

Drew Brees apologizes for comments on kneeling during national anthem

Drew Brees drew mass amounts of criticism Wednesday after telling Yahoo Finance he, "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," when asked his thoughts about players kneeling during the national anthem. 

On Thursday morning, Brees took to Instagram to issue an apology. 

"I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday," Brees wrote. "In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.

"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," he said. "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."

Professional athletes from all over condemned Brees' comments amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. From DMV stars like Ed Reed and Mark Ingram to Saints teammates Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Malcolm Jenkins, the outrage over Brees' comments was vast.

In a lengthy apology, Brees took responsibility for his comments and acknowledged he must do more to help the fight for equality. 

"I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference," Brees continued. "I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right.

"I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy," he said. "I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening...and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness."

Brees extended his contract with the Saints in March's free-agent period by agreeing to a two-year, $50 million deal. 2020 will mark his 20th season in the NFL.

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Ed Reed on Drew Brees' comments on kneeling during anthem: 'You’re a straight sucker'

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Ed Reed on Drew Brees' comments on kneeling during anthem: 'You’re a straight sucker'

Count Ed Reed among Drew Brees' many critics after Yahoo Finance shared a clip of an interview with the veteran passer in which he stated that he will never support a player kneeling for the national anthem.

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

Reed, like many others, was not pleased to hear a main figure in the NFL carry that mindset during such an important time of civil unrest in America. Responding to Brees' comments, the Hall of Famer let the quarterback know exactly how he felt.

“Imma just get straight to it. I see Drew Brees do his part in trying to keep black folk down," Reed said. “You’re a straight sucker for that [expletive] Drew Brees...Drew Brees you’re a straight sucker, man. You’re a sucker for that, bro.”

Reed said his frustration stemmed from Brees not understanding what kneeling for the national anthem is truly about, and the fact that it is a peaceful protest. The act that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began was meant to bring attention to the racial injustice and police brutality in the country, not intentionally disrespect the flag.

Being angry about the looting going on across the country is one thing to Reed, but speaking out against players protesting in a peaceful manner is something he could not wrap his head around.

“Why you think all these young people out here protesting? Why you think they out here protesting?" Reed said. "The looting? I could see you speaking on the looting and saying that’s bad, you don’t support that. But why do you think all these young people are out here protesting?"

Reed ended his remarks by addressing those who may defend Brees or still support him in the future due to his play on the field. To the former Raven, wins are not an excuse to justify an action.

“For all my Saints fans, for all my New Orleans people who still like your [expletive] just because they want to win games. Ya’ll right with him, you understand?" Reed said “Drew Brees, you’re a sucker, you’re going to be a sucker. You understand? Punk, man.”

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Former Raven Ed Reed on creating change in America: Everybody needs to be involved

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Former Raven Ed Reed on creating change in America: Everybody needs to be involved

Former Ravens defensive back Ed Reed joined The Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday and shared his thoughts on the current climate of America. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, many are rightfully demanding change.

Reed is among them, and the Hall of Famer shared his thoughts on what it will take for a real change to happen. To him, it begins by getting everyone involved.

“We have to have better communication. We have to address the elephant in the room as people … Everybody needs to speak on it. Everybody from all walks of life, all backgrounds, ethnicities, creed," Reed said.

Putting it in the context of sports, Reed likened it to being on a team. Not everyone is the same but when all participate and work toward a common goal, success typically follows.

"When you play sports, when you’re on a team with people from different walks of life, and you have to look after each other and count on each other, race and all that stuff goes out the window when you are in the locker room," Reed said. "When this world and country functions as a team does, and in order to win a championship and in order to be successful, you have to be on the same page.”  

Reed said the time for change in America is now, and by doing so, current and future generations will be able to have positive experiences in life. The future of the country includes Reed's own children and the numerous other lives he touches through he charitable acts. 

“A lot on the mind as always … but I have a son, I have my nieces, my nephews. I have a bunch of kids that my foundation helps out," Reed said of the current climate in America. "So, you have to think about the future. You can’t look at what’s happening now (in our country) and (be) thinking that it’s over."

"This is not the end, it’s a new beginning. Just thinking about these kids and their future," he added.

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