New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees apologized on Thursday for comments he made that were “insensitive and completely missed the mark” when he reiterated his opposition to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. Brees comments drew sharp criticism from fellow high-profile athletes and others in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Los Angeles Lakers great LeBron James, New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins and former NFL player Martellus Bennett were just some of the high-profile athletes to criticize Brees on their Twitter feeds.
Brees was asked Wednesday in an interview with Yahoo to revisit former NFL quarterback Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem before games to bring awareness of police brutality and racial injustice, saying, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States. In many cases, it brings me to tears thinking about all that has been sacrificed, and not just in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.”
However in an Instagram post Thursday, Brees apologized to his friends, teammates, New Orleans, the black community, the NFL community and “anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday.” Brees added: “In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I 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.”
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