Drew Brees echoed his go-to line about kneeling during the national anthem earlier this week, mentioning that he believed doing that to protest systemic oppression and police brutality against Black individuals disrespected the American flag and current and former members of the military. But unlike when Brees would say this in 2016, when Colin Kaepernick tried to use protesting as a chance to start a discourse about two issues that have long plagued the U.S., the New Orleans Saints quarterback faced serious blowback from individuals around the world of sports.
Brees ended up apologizing on his Instagram account several times, and said that he would strive to be a better ally moving forward. One such person who found this unnecessary was, unsurprisingly, Donald Trump, who tweeted that while he was a “big fan” of Brees, the Pro Bowl signal caller “should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag.”
It is hardly the first time that the president has opted to comment on Kaepernick-inspired protests, but on Friday evening, Brees, whose family met Trump at this year’s College Football Playoff championship game, offered up an explanation for why the president got this one wrong. Brees posted an image that simply said “To President Trump,” then wrote a note to the commander-in-chief.
View this post on Instagram
To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.
In his remarks, Brees admitted that in 2017, the flag was used “to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities” and specifically cited “systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform.” He also called for America to use the energy that exists in this moment to lead to real, meaningful change that helps the communities that have long been marginalized.
“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities,” Brees wrote. “We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”
Brees has never exactly been the type of person to rock the boat, so it is a bit surprising to see Brees call out Trump like this. Trump, as of this writing, has not offered up any sort of response to Brees’ post.