Drew Brees Pushes Back at Trump About Kneeling Protests: It’s ‘Never Been’ About the American Flag

“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities,” the NFL star says in an open letter to the POTUS

Last Updated: June 6, 2020 @ 4:58 AM

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees pushed back at President Donald Trump in an open letter Friday night, saying that Americans  “can no longer use the flag” to “distract” people “from the real issues that face our black communities.”

“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been,” Brees wrote in a letter to the president posted on Instagram. “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.”

Earlier this week, Brees came under fire from his fellow athletes and sports journalists over comments he made in an interview with Yahoo Finance. When asked how he would feel if players started kneeling again during the national anthem 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.”

Negative reactions came swiftly, as did his public apology. “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,” the athlete wrote on Instagram and Twitter.

In his open letter to Trump Friday, he went on to write, “We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?”
Brees went on to say that fixing the ills of society will take all peoples collectively.

“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities,” he wrote. “We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”

View this post on Instagram

To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

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