Drew Brees issues apology for ‘insensitive’ comments
Drew Brees issued an apology one day after drawing passionate backlash over comments he made. The country and world as a whole is in a state of civil unrest following the death of George Floyd. Floyd, 46, died while in the custody of Minneapolis Police and four officers involved have been terminated by the department and charged by the attorney general for their respective role in his death, which includes Derek Chauvin — the officer seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck despite his cries of “I can’t breathe” — who was charged Wednesday with an additional count of second-degree murder, on top of a third-degree murder charge. He’s scheduled to be in court Monday. While protests and riots sweep the country, Brees was asked his stance on it all, and he definitely answered.
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… https://t.co/Jg36d0Ad0l
— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) June 4, 2020
More specifically, the Saints quarterback was asked his opinion on Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel, seeing as the gesture was in silent protest to the very social injustice that fueled the death of Floyd. Brees’ reply was succinct and direct, in that he still believes the kneeling was actually about the national anthem, and made it clear he will never support “disrespecting the flag” — a comment that led to teammates like Michael Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins to join other teammates in railing against Brees on social media.
One day later, Brees offered the following apology on Instagram, hoping to smooth things over with everyone.
Time will tell how the apology is received in the locker room.
Jenkins, readying for his return to New Orleans in 2020, even went as far as releasing a now-deleted video that openly tore into Brees’ stance, reminding him Kaepernick’s kneeling had nothing at all to do with the national anthem and advising him to “shut the f— up” if he doesn’t understand the plight of African-Americans as it relates to police brutality and social injustice. The veteran safety would double back and release the following video, re-addressing his stance on Brees’ comments with a different framing of words.
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 pic.twitter.com/T054qt0YEz
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) June 3, 2020
Jenkins is a well-established and driven leader in the community, be it in Philadelphia where he’s returning from, or in New Orleans itself; and his and Thomas’ replies were only the tip of the iceberg.
Brees’ teammates were joined by NBA megastar LeBron James and even legendary New Orleans actor Wendell Pierce, along with a slew of other athletes and social activists, in condemning the quarterback’s statements. On a day when Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott released a detailed statement of solidarity that also included a $1 million donation toward police reform and “addressing systemic racism,” the timing of Brees’ comments only added gasoline to an already blazing inferno.
There will now undoubtedly have to be conversations that happen behind closed doors to mend fences in the Saints locker room, and they’ll likely begin immediately.