Athletes Responded To Drew Brees’ Apology For ‘Insensitive’ Comments About Protesting

Saints quarterback Drew Brees took to Instagram on Thursday morning to apologize for an interview he gave to Yahoo! Sports this week in which he said he wouldn’t respect anyone who protested during the upcoming NFL season, even in the wake of another onslaught of deaths at the hands of the police this spring. Yet even in the apology was not enough to satisfy many, who felt it came across as empty after the uproar this week.

As many have said in recent days, words are empty without action. They seem even more empty when they come only in the face of backlash.

Booger MacFarland of ESPN, who is also a native of Louisiana and NFL veteran, was succinct in his frustration, tweeting that he believed Brees said, “Im sorry for the way that America is crucifying me , I’m not sorry for what I said. Got it.”

New York Giants running back Jonathan Hililman one-upped MacFarland’s comment by noting Brees, in his eyes, only felt the need to apologize after teammates responded with disappointment.

This is in reference to comments from a handful of teammates like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, who made their feelings known about Brees’ stance shortly after he gave the interview.

In question here is why Brees continued to hold onto the idea that players’ protests, from Colin Kaepernick and beyond, are about the American flag or U.S. military, when these players have been quite vocal about the intention behind their protests and the strategy of doing it the way they do.

Others were frustrated that while Brees had no qualms about getting on TV to relay his opinions in the first place, his apology only came via social media, finished off with a picture that many have discovered might be a stock photo.

To that end, 76ers forward Tobias Harris, who had previously wished that Brees would avoid making a statement altogether, urged Brees to “take your ass on camera and apologize” if he wanted to make true inroads and critiqued his photo choice.

At the same time, Saints linebacker and Brees’ teammate, Demario Davis, called Brees’ apology “leadership at its finest” in a CNN appearance on Thursday morning.

Another Saints player, left tackle Terron Armstead, put up a Twitter thread shortly after Davis’ TV appearance and wrote, “Speaking with him and a few of my teammates we know that accountability and responsibility is the only way to move forward from this.”

Some NFL reporters noted that the Saints’ locker room was not pleased in general with how Brees spoke out, but Davis and Armstead’s comments indicate something of a pacification, at least for now. The rest of the sports world seems to want more out of Brees to atone.