Killer Mike responded to NFL star Drew Brees’ comments earlier this week about players kneeling during the National Anthem. Asked by Yahoo about his opinion on the protests — which were begun in 2016 by Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality against Black people — Brees said, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Today on ESPN’s Jalen Vs. Everybody with Jalen Rose, Mike replied by pointing out the hypocrisy of the statement and the backlash against kneeling protests.
“The American flag stands for the First Amendment and the ability to say what you feel about situations,” Mike explained. “Now, you bear the brunt of it. You may get blackballed out of the NFL, but you have the right to [protest]. So if you support and you don’t wanna see the American flag disrespected, don’t look at it on Budweiser shorts at picnics. Don’t look at it in bikini shots in Playboy. Don’t look at it on your favorite album covers because you think that rock band is rocking for you. Be all the way with it. You’re an intelligent football player but that was an incredibly stupid thing to say.”
For his part, Brees received backlash on social media and from the sports community at large, with former ESPN commentator Jemele Hill noting, “Drew Brees is why people shouldn’t assume that just because someone white is around black people that they understand black issues.” Meanwhile, LeBron James also responded, saying the quarterback “still doesn’t understand” why Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem in 2016 and what the protests mean.
Brees has since issued an apology on Instagram, saying, “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.” A lengthy explanation follows, which you can read below.
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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.
Watch Killer Mike’s full interview with Jalen Rose above.