New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is backtracking on his Wednesday remarks criticizing national anthem protests and has issued a passionate apology for his stance.
What's a brief history?
During a Wednesday interview with Yahoo Finance, Brees discussed kneeling protests, insisting that it's never OK to disrespect the American flag.
Many of his sports peers blasted Brees' remarks, and even neighbors in New Orleans, cried out against him during protests on Wednesday.
"I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regard to fighting for racial equality and justice," Brees said. "I also stand with my grandfathers, who risked their lives for this country, and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."
The famed quarterback added that he would "never agree," however, "with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America."
What's he saying now?
In Thursday remarks on Instagram, Brees said that he is heartbroken for offending people with his remarks.
"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," he wrote in a lengthy post. "In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused."
Brees explained that he entirely "missed the mark" on being able to carry on a constructive conversation about the ongoing protests as well as black equality in the United States.
"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," he said. "They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy."
Brees said that his words "misled" people into believing he is something that he is not.
"Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy," he continued. "This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character."
He clarified that he does, indeed, stand with the black community in the fight against racial inequality and police brutality, and insisted that Americans have not done enough to forge ahead with lasting changes.
"I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today," he continued. "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."
Brees said that he should have done better, and will fight for the black community and equality.
"I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement," he continued. "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."
He insisted that he has "ALWAYS been an ally," and simply "never an enemy."
"I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability," he concluded. "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."