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Why Shaquille O’Neal mentioned Kobe Bryant in conversation with Drew Brees over kneeling issue

Drew Brees apologized over the weekend for his comments on kneeling. Shaquille O’Neal had a message for him

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In this Feb. 5, 1999, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal (34) puts his arms around teammates, Elden Campbell (41) and Kobe Bryant (8) as Eddie Jones (6) and Derek Harper walk in front as they return to play the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

In this Feb. 5, 1999, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal (34) puts his arms around teammates, Elden Campbell (41) and Kobe Bryant (8) as Eddie Jones (6) and Derek Harper walk in front as they return to play the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

AP

Shaquille O’Neal used his relationship with Kobe Bryant to help him make an argument with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees about the ongoing controversy about his comments on the U.S. flag.

What’s the news:

  • The New Orleans Saints reportedly held a 100-minute teleconference meeting on Thursday in which Brees apologized for comments he made last week that kneeling during the national anthem was an insult to the U.S. flag.
  • The meeting reportedly included Shaquille O’Neal, who told the team to stay together and act united as they moved forward.
  • According to reports, O’Neal cited his relationship with the late Kobe Bryant in his message to the Saints. O’Neal and Bryant won three titles together in the NBA before O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat. Bryant and O’Neal had a dramatic relationship filled with speculation, gossip and rumors from the media.
  • Per Football Morning In America, O’Neal said: “They’re going to try to divide you, just like they divided us with the Lakers! Me and Kobe (Bryant), we had a great thing going, but the media divided our team. We could have won five more championships! Stay strong. Don’t let the media divide you! Don’t let social media divide you!”
  • O’Neal was supposed to be a guest speaker at the meeting originally before the comments controversy came up, according to Bleacher Report.

Brees apologizes over the weekend

  • The controversy with Brees and the flag began last week when 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.”
  • LeBron James, Josh Hartand other athletes ripped Brees for his comments. He later issued an apology to his teammates and all Americans, as I reported for the Deseret News.
  • Brees said: “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.”
  • President Donald Trump weighed in on the matter, telling Brees that he should not have rescinded his comments about the flag, according to Fox News.