Drew Brees and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee in the NFl

American Patriotism

After earlier sharing a message of unity on social media, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees attracted backlash Wednesday when he reiterated his stance that he will "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America" during an interview with Yahoo Finance.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said. "Let me just tell you 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."

  • Brees' comments came when he was asked during the interview to revisit former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's 2016 protest of police brutality against minorities, in which Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem before games. Brees' remarks on the flag drew an outlash on social media across the sports landscape, including from Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
  • Brees issued a lengthy statement of apology on Thursday morning in which he presented himself as an ally to the black community. Except nowhere in his apology did he recognize why his comments about this form of protest were so hurtful. He still is not publicly willing to admit that the flag offers different meanings to different people. That kneeling during the anthem is a legitimate protest.

Reflecting: It’s still baffling how tone deaf Drew Brees comments were. He seemed so oblivious to the situation that is going on around the world and still holds on to the notion that the flag should only represent the military. Who is he to tell another person how he is supposed to feel when they look at the flag? Does he know that his grandfather also fought in the war with other black men who did not get treated like heroes when they came back to America? It’s time to realize that taking a knee is not a disrespect to the flag but as a form of protesting against police brutality and inequality. It’s in your constitution to take a knee as that is what the flag represents. 

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