Drew Brees Facing Backlash After He Says He ‘Will Never Agree’ With Kneeling During Anthem

 

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is facing backlash after an interview with Yahoo, in which he said he still opposed NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.

Yahoo Finance reporter Daniel Roberts asked Brees for his thoughts about “players kneeling again when the NFL seasons starts, ” as “a lot of people expect we will see.” Roberts prefaced the question by framing the protests, led by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as “always being about police brutality.”

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” replied Brees, who also talked about sacrifices made by members of the American military and civil rights activists, concluding that “standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart” was a better idea, because it “shows unity.”

The full transcript of Brees’ answer:

I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.

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. Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ‘60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.

And 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.

Unsurprisingly, after a week of protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, Brees’ comments drew a loud and swift backlash — including from at least two of his own teammates.

Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, both receivers with the Saints, posted several tweets shortly after Brees’ interview started circulating online.

#DrewBrees was trending on Twitter throughout Wednesday afternoon, with the vast majority of the tweets condemning Brees’ comments.

L.A. Lakers star LeBron James harshly slammed Brees in a tweet, questioning how Brees still couldn’t understand why Kaepernick was kneeling, and rejecting the argument it was disrespectful to the flag or our military:

Several others pointed out the apparent hypocrisy from Brees, who had posted on Instagram just the day before for #BlackOutTuesday, which was to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and support justice for Floyd and other victims of racism and police brutality.

 

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