After receiving backlash for tone-deaf comments about kneeling and the national anthem, Drew Brees has finally decided to apologize.
In an extremely long Instagram post, the veteran New Orleans Saints quarterback wrote in part, “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.”
He claimed to have “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.”
See the lengthy response below:
MALCOLM JENKINS AND LEBRON JAMES CALL OUT DREW BREES (6/3)
Drew Brees is receiving heavy backlash from social media for claiming that kneeling during the national anthem disrespects the flag and the United States.
During a video interview with Yahoo’s Daniel Roberts, the New Orleans Saints quarterback was asked about players protesting during the anthem. He responded that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," citing that his grandfathers “risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.”
While Brees’ comments are not only tone-deaf and offensive, they also come at a horrible time as many are looking to athletes to speak out against police brutality and stand in solidarity with those who want justice for George Floyd. The 41-year-old ball player’s teammate Malcolm Jenkins was one of those enraged and let his anger known.
Via a video he posted to his Twitter account, the Saints safety gave some poignant advice to Brees, including his closing message: “You’re somebody who I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes, you should shut the f**k up.”
“If you don’t understand how hurtful and how insensitive your comments are, you’re part of the problem,” said Jenkins who then pointed to the fact that African American men who served the country at the same time as Brees’ grandfathers were not welcomed back to America with open arms.
“When our grandfathers fought in this country and served and they came back, they didn’t come back to a hero’s welcome," Jenkins said. "They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms.”
He continued: “I’m hurt. Because while the world tells you that you’re not worthy, that your life doesn’t matter, the last place you want to hear it from are the guys that you go to war with and that you consider to be allies and your friends. Even though we’re teammates, I can’t let this slide.”
Jenkins deleted the first and shorter version of his video about the Black Lives Matter protests, police brutality and Brees and later posted a longer version with more context of his thoughts, still including his criticism of his teammate.
"As I was trying to muster up the energy and find the words to address Drew Brees's comments I recorded this video. Before I could post it, Drew reached out to me to discuss his point of view,” Jenkins captioned the first video. "All in all, I'm still posting this video because it's important for anyone who wants to consider themself an ally to know how these words and actions affect those who you want to help. Drew's words during his interview were extremely painful to hear and I hope he rectifies them with real action."
The caption of his longer second video explains why he wanted to add more context: “I recorded a few videos when thinking of how to respond to Drew Brees, I don’t take any of it back-I meant what I said-I removed the 1st video because I knew it be more about the headlines. I want people to understand how those of us struggling with what’s going on feel.”
Malcolm Jenkins wasn’t the only athlete to criticise Drew Brees. LeBron James, who has been very active on social media in his calls to condemn police brutality and for justice for George Floyd and others, retweeted the Yahoo interview segment with his own message of disappointment.
“WOW MAN!! Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t!” wrote the L.A. Lakers superstar. “You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of [the flag] and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those.”
Michael Thomas, another one of Brees’ teammates, also chimed in. “He don’t know no better,” he tweeted. “We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.”
George Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin on May 25. Four former officers have since been arrested and charged for their involvement in the 46-year-old’s death, including Chauvin, who was initially charged with third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
On Wednesday (June 3), Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison upgraded the charges against Chauvin to Second Degree murder for the death of Floyd on and also charged the three other officers involved, J Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane with aiding and abetting murder. The three officers were fired and have remained under investigation since the day after Floyd died.
BET has been covering every angle of George Floyd’s death by police and the subsequent aftermath. For our continuing coverage of the protests nationwide, click here.