New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was slammed by fellow pro athletes and sports journalists on Wednesday over comments he made about kneeling protests.
When asked during a Yahoo Finance interview how he would feel if players started kneeling during the anthem Colin Kaepernick-style when the NFL season restarts, Brees said, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
His own teammate, wide receiver Michael Thomas, seemed to respond on Twitter when he posted a single emoji indicating he felt sick. Thomas’ tweet came in response to Bleacher Report NFL columnist Mike Freeman, who quipped, “How can anyone watch George Floyd get murdered and their first response when asked about it is ResPEcC tHe fLAg.”
Added fellow Saints receiver Emmanuel Sanders, “smh.. [Shaking my head] ignorant.”
Josh Hart, who plays for New Orleans’ NBA team, also spoke out against the comments his city’s star football player: “Never was about disrespecting the armed forces. It’s about police brutality and racial injustices in our country. This country can’t be unified if African Americans are unjustly killed in the street because of the color of their skin.”
SB Nation’s Atlanta Falcons blog used its Twitter account to make a joke at the expense of Brees’ statement and playing ability, writing, “Once again, Drew Brees has thrown something out there that comes up short.”
ESPN’s Myron Medcalf wrote sarcastically, “Man, Drew Brees is gonna need his favorite MLK quote in about 48 hours.” Another listener responded, referencing how Brees’ comments might be taken by New Orleans’ diverse population, “Maybe next time to win over local fans he can come out in support of hurricanes.”
“Drew Brees couldn’t even directly say he understood why Colin protested injustice nor that he understood the anger of many black americans. He just talked about what the flag means to him. But he posted a black box on instagram like he did somethin. That’s the issue,” wrote Turner Sports’ Taylor Rooks, referring to Tuesday’s “blackout” on social media, during which companies and individuals posted blank, black screens, ostensibly in honor of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter.
Brees did, in fact, post the black box on his Instagram.
Watch his interview with Yahoo! Finance, below:
Highlight: @readdanwrite asks @drewbrees what the star NFL quarterback thinks about "players kneeling again when the NFL season starts."@drewbrees: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Full exchange: pic.twitter.com/MpCkFyOMed
— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) June 3, 2020