Saints’ Drew Brees says response to US flag feedback was ‘crushing’

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he’ll proceed to face for the American flag however respects and helps any type of peaceable demonstration – together with kneeling in the course of the nationwide anthem – by these protesting social injustice and systemic racism.

“I’ll all the time stand for the flag due to what it means to me and to honor all those that have sacrificed, who’ve served and died for our nation, and all those that have struggled to maneuver this nation ahead,” Brees mentioned Saturday in a convention name with media to debate the onset of coaching camp.

“I acknowledge and respect anybody who chooses to kneel or another type of peaceable protest to convey consideration to social injustice and system racism that so many have endured and proceed to endure in our nation,” Brees continued, including that he “all the time will help and advocate for black and brown communities within the struggle for social justice”.

The 41-year-old Brees, who’s the NFL’s all-time chief in yards passing, completions and touchdowns, is getting into his 20th NFL season and 15th with the New Orleans Saints.

Brees turned seen by many as a logo of white privilege when he reiterated his long-held opposition to anybody kneeling in the course of the nationwide anthem, saying he would by no means approve of anybody disrespecting the flag. These feedback got here as protests have been proliferating throughout the nation in response to a white Minneapolis police officer’s video-recorded killing of George Floyd, who’s Black.

Brees confronted a scathing backlash from a number of present and former black teammates and different excessive profile athletes resembling LeBron James. However the quarterback apologized quickly afterward and mentioned he realizes now that protesting by kneeling in the course of the anthem, initiated by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, was “by no means concerning the flag”.

‘I’ll do higher’: Drew Brees apologises for kneeling protest feedback – video

The weeklong imbroglio positioned Brees on the heart of a nationwide maelstrom and made him the goal of at least Donald Trump, who focused the longer term Corridor of Fame quarterback in a collection of tweets: “I’m a giant fan of Drew Brees. I believe he’s really one of many best quarterbacks, however he shouldn’t have taken again his authentic stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown excessive… We needs to be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on coronary heart. There are different issues you’ll be able to protest, however not our Nice American Flag – NO KNEELING!”

Brees revisited his June feedback and his remorse about making them on Saturday.

“To suppose for a second that New Orleans or the state of Louisiana, or the black group would suppose I used to be not standing with them for social justice, that fully broke my coronary heart. It was crushing. By no means, ever would I really feel that approach,” Brees mentioned.

“I acknowledge that I missed a possibility that day. I had a possibility to speak about and emphasize the social injustices that exist for our Black group and our want as nation to help them and advocate for systemic change. And my lack of know-how in that second damage lots of people.”

Brees added that he has had many dialog with teammates since then and significantly in current days and that they’ve “reconciled and put closure on something from the previous, and we’re transferring ahead to specializing in the problems of social justice that face actually our complete nation.”

Brees singled out security Malcolm Jenkins, who had been amongst his harshest critics on social media earlier than Brees’ public apology, saying, “I’m a good friend of Malcolm, I’m his teammate and I’m his ally. There are various issues that we’re having a dialog about engaged on collectively. All of our objectives are aligned.”

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