Drew Brees issues lengthy apology for ‘insensitive’ remarks lacking ‘awareness’
News Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees issued a lengthy apology on Thursday morning after drawing a furious backlash from teammates and stars in other sports over his comments criticizing people who kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence and call for racial justice.
The remarks from Brees, who argued anyone kneeling was disrespecting the flag, were widely criticized as completely tone-deaf amid national demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
In an Instagram post, Brees wrote that he “would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt” with the comments he made in an interview with Yahoo Finance the day before.
“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, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed,” he said.
Brees’s comments immediately drew backlash online and prompted criticism from a number of current and former professional athletes, including among some from on his own team.
Malcolm Jenkins, a safety for the Saints, knocked Brees in video responding to his comments on social media Wednesday, saying: “Drew Brees, if you don’t understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem.”
“To think that because your grandfathers served in this country and you have a great respect for the flag that everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts that you do is ridiculous,” he continued. “And it shows that you don’t know history. Because when our grandfathers fought for this country and served and they came back, they didn’t come back to a hero’s welcome. They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms. They came back to people, to racism, to complete violence.”
Michael Thomas, a wide receiver for the team, also called out his team over the comments.
“He don’t know no better,” Thomas tweeted Wednesday. “We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.”