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Drew Brees apologizes after backlash to his stance on kneeling during NFL games

LeBron James ripped into Brees for his statement

SHARE Drew Brees apologizes after backlash to his stance on kneeling during NFL games
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay.

Mike Groll, Associated Press

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized Thursday after he faced backlash for revealing his stance on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

What happened:

  • On Wednesday, Brees said in an interview with Yahoo! Finance that he would never agree with players kneeling during the national anthem because it disrespects the flag.
  • He said: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. 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 Corps. 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.”
  • LeBron James, Josh Hart and Michael Thomas responded to Brees, as I reported for the Deseret News. The criticisms centered around Brees not understanding the issue and that kneeling was not about disrespecting soldiers.

The apology:

Brees wrote a lengthy apology on Instagram. Here’s the full response:

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. 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. 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.

This is where I stand:

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.

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.

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.

Taysom Hill receives some Twitter love

On Wednesday, social media members suggested former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill — who now plays for the Saints — might receive the starting job if Brees got fired for his comments.