ESPN’s Maria Taylor Questions If Drew Brees Would’ve Apologized If There Was No Backlash

For more than a week, protesters have taken to the streets in cities around the country after yet another unarmed Black man was murdered by police. George Floyd, 46, died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and sparked nationwide outrage about the continued racial profiling that targets and threatens the lives of people of color.

Many athletes have either spoken publicly or joined protesters in solidarity, but New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees used the opportunity to voice his concerns about how this might result in a new round of kneeling during the national anthem, a response that quickly drew the ire of people around the sports world, including and especially his own teammates, as they criticized his tone deaf response to the situation.

ESPN’s Maria Taylor was the latest to speak out against Brees on First Take on Friday morning, questioning whether the apology he issued in the aftermath of his comments was sincere or not, given the position he’s voiced about anthem protest on numerous occasions before, which Taylor and many others see as “dog-whistle” racism.

LeBron James joined in the criticism against Brees in recent days, and he was quick tweet his support for Taylor on Friday after her segment aired.

In addition to his public apology, Brees also apologized to his teammates during a conference call that also included Shaq, who said that most of his teammates accepted his apology. Still, Brees’ reputation has taken a huge hit this week, and the backlash isn’t slowing down anytime soon as people around the country demand steps to reduce systemic injustice and racism.