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Drew Brees Apologizes After Making Statement Criticizing Protesting For Racial Justice

Thousands of people have been protesting in the streets of major U.S. cities for days demanding justice after George Floyd was killed. People are demanding a change to police reform and the Black Lives Matter movement is at the center of that fight.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is not a fan of kneeling in protest.

In an interview with Yahoo! Business, Brees spoke on the peaceful kneeling protests. While thousands of people continue to march and protest to demand justice, Brees gave a sound bite that has not done him any favors.

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said in the interview. “And is everything right with our country right now? No. It’s not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution.”

Brees seems to have missed why protesters were kneeling during the national anthem.

ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon took issue with Brees’s statement for calling into question someone’s patriotism if they kneel during the national anthem.

“I believe the apology. I believe it was as sincere as and as heartfelt as he could possibly be and it reflects that,” Wilbon said in an interview. “That’s not my point today and I’m angry today, Tony. Even Drew Brees in his apology, he doesn’t address what it was that ticked off so many people, including me, which is essentially the questioning of anybody, and let’s say that anybody in this case if black people, who want to take a knee and have a protest during the national anthem when the flag is raised at sporting events.”

Brees apologized on Instagram after receiving backlash for his comments.

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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

His apology has been received with mixed reviews. Some people have come to Brees’s support claiming his message has been misunderstood. Others, like Wilbon see the apology as a half-apology coming from a need to preserve a public image, not a genuine reflection on his actions.

One of the people to have forgiven Brees is teammate Michael Thomas.

Michael Thomas is a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints and he was one of the first to come to Brees’s defense after he issued his apology. Several other teammates came to his defense and all of them expressed both a disappointment at Brees’s insensitive comments and a willingness to forgive him after see his apology and feeling it genuine.

What do you think about Brees’s comments?

READ: White Teens Are Mocking The George Floyd Killing On Social Media And This Is Why We Need #BlackLivesMatter

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