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Saints QB Drew Brees pushes back on kneeling during national anthem, says despite protests, he will 'never agree' with 'disrespecting the flag'​



Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is under fire after voicing his stance that it's never OK to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.

What are the details?

In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, Brees said that he will "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America."

During the discussion, the interviewer asked Brees for his thoughts on former NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick's 2016 police brutality movement, which included kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.

"I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regard to fighting for racial equality and justice," Brees explained. "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."

What has been the response?

Saints teammate Malcolm Jenkins blasted Brees' remarks and said that he was very hurt.

In a since-deleted video, Jenkins said that the famed quarterback's remarks were "extremely self-centered."

"Our communities are under siege, and we need help," Jenkins pleaded on social media. "And what you're telling us is don't ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way. I can't listen to it when you ask that way. We're done talking, Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem."

He concluded, "[I]t's unfortunate because I considered you a friend. I looked up to you. You're somebody who I had a great deal of respect for. But sometimes you should shut the f*** up."

Jenkins wasn't the only major athlete displeased with Brees' remarks.

NBA star LeBron James also took issue with Brees unwavering stance amidst the George Floyd protests.

On Twitter, James wrote, "WOW MAN!! Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn't! You literally still don't understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those ... men who fought as well for this country."

He continued, "I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitement [sic]. He never found Kap['s] peaceful protest offensive because he and I both know what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong! God bless you."

Even New Orleans residents, during their own protests, reportedly broke out in anti-Brees shouts on Wednesday following his remarks, screaming "F*** Drew Brees!"

How did Brees respond to the criticism?

Following the backlash, Brees followed up with Yahoo via text message, writing, "I believe we should all stand for the national anthem and respect our country and all those who sacrificed so much for our freedoms."

"That includes all those who marched for women's suffrage in the 1920s and all those who marched in the civil rights movements and continue to march for racial equality," he continued. "All of us ... EVERYONE ... represent that flag. Same way I respect all the citizens of our country ... no matter their race, color, religion."

"I would ask anyone who has a problem with what I said to look at the way I live my life," his message added. "Do I come across as someone who is not doing my absolute best to make this world a better place, to bring justice and equality to others, and hope & opportunity to those who don't have it? That's what I meant by actions speak louder than words. ... My ACTIONS speak for themselves."

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