Drew Brees has drawn the ire of the sports world for comments he made about kneeling during the national anthem on Wednesday. While Brees has long-believed that those who follow in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps are disrespecting the flag — evoking his grandfathers’ service in World War II — he repeated those comments on Wednesday amid the protests that have occurred nationwide in response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Brees received a firestorm of criticism in the hours following his comments. Teammates, other NFL players, and even LeBron James all chimed in to call Brees out for his ignorance and lack of understanding, leading to Brees offering up an apology on Thursday morning that earned a mixed reaction. Perhaps the strongest reaction came from Fox personality Shannon Sharpe, who called on Brees to “probably retire.”
Sharpe, during Thursday’s edition of Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, said that “what’s made the Black fight so hard is people like Drew Brees,” before diving into Brees’ “insulting” mention of World War II, referencing how Black Americans were treated upon returning stateside.
Drew Brees should probably retire pic.twitter.com/61nuI7jjys
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) June 4, 2020
“I can’t believe you, Drew,” Sharpe said. “What would make you think, at this moment, Skip, eight, nine days after George Floyd had lost his life, you would bring up the military and the flag? Again, Skip, I told you, Skip, if you wanna talk about B, and I don’t wanna talk about B, I wanna talk about C, I’m gonna talk about D, I’m gonna talk about everything except what you wanna talk about, because that’s an issue I do not want to face. Drew, Blacks fought in World War II alongside your grandfather, and did not have the freedoms that they had when they came home, Skip, although they had sacrificed the exact same thing as his grandfathers did.”
Sharpe eventually spoke from the perspective of someone who has been the leader in an NFL locker room, calling his apology “meaningless” and saying that in his eyes, it may be in Brees’ best interest to retire.
“It will never be the same,” Sharpe said. “Take it from a guy that’s been a leader in a locker room for a number of years. At every step, Skip, I’ve been the leader in a locker room. What he said, they gonna, “oh, yeah, you know.” No, they will never look at him the same, because he spoke his heart, and Skip, it wasn’t what he said, it’s how he said it. He was defiant. I will never respect the man, even though Colin Kaepernick had told you what he was doing, Skip, and guess what? Even after all this, nobody had even mentioned the flag. He brought that up on his own.”
Brees has drawn a ton of ire, but few have been as pointed and blunt as Sharpe in referencing the historical contexts that his comments demand and expressing their belief that he should call it a career. There is no word on whether Brees, who has a deal lined up with NBC to move into the broadcast booth at the conclusion of his NFL career, will heed Sharpe’s advice.