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#pounditThursday, August 13, 2020

Drew Brees issues apology after comments about national anthem protests

Drew Brees said on Wednesday that he would not agree with NFL players kneeling during the national anthem this season even in the wake of the George Floyd killing, and the New Orleans Saints star was widely criticized over the remarks. On Thursday, Brees issued an apology.

Brees released a lengthy statement on social media apologizing to “my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday.” He said he is heartbroken by the pain he caused while trying to share his thoughts on the “respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem.”

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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. 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. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening…and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

Brees said his comments “completely missed the mark” and lacked awareness. He then offered an explanation for where he stands on issues of police brutality and social inequality.

“I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community,” Brees wrote.

Numerous people criticized Brees for his take on national anthem protests, including two of his teammates. Michael Thomas called Brees out with a couple of brief tweets, while Malcolm Jenkins had a lengthier response and posted an emotional video addressing the situation.

Brees is not the first prominent member of the NFL community to openly condemn national anthem protests, but it is no surprise his remarks drew such a strong response given all that is currently going on in the country.

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