Drew Brees is typically one of the most popular, universally liked players in the NFL. He’s having a rough go of it today though.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” he told Yahoo Sports today, in response to potential renewed protests in the NFL this year. Amid the nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd, one has to imagine that Colin Kaepernick-style demonstrations will spike way back up this year, and likely with much less pushback than in 2016. And yet, Brees is not supporting them.
“We still have a long way to go.” Brees continued. “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.”
After what appeared to be serious criticism lobbed his way by his superstar New Orleans Saints teammate Michael Thomas, Brees added to his thoughts. “I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice,” he said to Mike Triplett of ESPN. “I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.” One of Brees’ former teammates, former Saints linebacker Lamar Louis, is less than impressed by the quarterback’s statement today.
Drew Brees was once my teammate. Had a long intellectual talk with him in the cold tub once. Drew….. you’re a smart man. This ain’t ignorance. This is picking a side and not caring enough to fight for justice because you’re comfortable within your own bubble. Silence is murder!
— Lamar Louis (@_ball_is_life23) June 3, 2020
Drew Brees is a smart, compassionate person, as Louis says here. That makes his inability to separate protests during the national anthem from military issues pretty disheartening.
As so many have explained over the last few years, protests like Colin Kaepernick’s have very little to do with the military, and were done to highlight racial injustice and, specifically, police brutality. Those issues have very clearly not gone away in the last four years, and Brees should expect that many around the league, including his Saints teammates, may bring back the protests this fall, unless something radically changes before then.
We’ll see if his stance here evolves at all in the coming days.