NFL: Reaction to Drew Brees’ Statement on National Anthem Kneeling

I want to begin this with something for everyone reading this. Whether or not you agree with what Drew Brees said in this interview, the way he went about this statement was wrong. This would be at least somewhat acceptable if there was not already heavy protesting regarding this situation. Brees brought this up at absolutely the wrong time, and in all honesty that is some of the reasons why he is receiving such backlash.

In this article, I will go over such topics:

  • Brees statement itself and the scenario
  • Responses by his teammates in New Orleans
  • Malcolm Jenkins video regarding the Brees interview
  • Responses by other influential sports players

The post made by Brees

On May 3rd, 2020, New Orleans Saints long time quarterback Drew Brees made a statement on his view regarding kneeling during the national anthem. In this statement, he talked about his personal reasoning for disliking the form of protest being utilized by kneeling, and what he envisions during the national anthem.  

Many, many people are outraged over this comment Brees made regarding the kneeling. There have been hundreds of professional athletes condemning his statement, including his own teammates.  

For those who do not know, the kneeling was a form of protest first started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016. Colin was performing this demonstration during multiple performances of the national anthem prior to NFL kickoffs. The reason he was doing it…to show his displeasure with the treatment of many ethnic minorities, as well as people of color. This demonstration was very much split between players, some chose to follow his lead, while others stood or even linked arms. 

 Brees’ statement comes 4 years after the original beginning of this protest, and while millions are protesting the same exact issues. The backlash Brees is now receiving however is coming in waves of huge proportion, including names the likes of Lebron James. 4 of Brees’ own teammates have even gone against his comment. These players include:

Malcolm Jenkins Statement

Malcolm Jenkins however has been the most vocal about this issue. He made a ≅ 3-minute long video to Brees, and it was quite a powerful message. The video has since been removed by Jenkins, but not before many people were able to transcript it. The transcript reads as follows (please be warned that it includes sensitive language):

“Quite frankly I’m hurt, and I’m not okay. I saw Drew Brees’ comments, and they were extremely disappointing, extremely self-centered, and just shows a complete lack of awareness or care for the plight of teammates, your peers, and your countrymen. For you to talk about the reasons why you respect the flag, and the national anthem, because your grandfathers both served and fought for this country, shows that you’re so unaware of the history of my grandfather, and others whose grandparents fought for this country in those same wars. 

And when they came back to this country, they didn’t get a hero’s welcome. They were met with violence for wearing that uniform. The same people who put their lives on the line for you, and your ancestors, came back to this country and were treated less than men, or beaten up and snatched off of buses for wearing their uniforms. Cut out of society and marginalized, even though they put their lives on the line for you. So to assume that, because you have a perspective about the flag and what it means to you, and the national anthem, and that everybody else should have the same mentality – it’s just completely unaware that my grandfather’s experience is way different than yours.

And so I’m somebody who protested during the national anthem. Not against the national anthem, but against police brutality, and the systemic racism that is plaguing our country. And if you can’t see – now, in 2020, with the whole nation on fire and people screaming for equality and that this is enough – and you can’t, with the same vigor that you like to denounce the protest during the national anthem, denounce the murder of George Floyd, denounce the murder of Breonna Taylor, denounce the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, denounce systematic racism, commit yourself to make this country better without criticizing those who have exhausted every single resource they have to make this country better, and this country has not stepped up to the plate.

You have not stepped up to the plate. To stay silent when your peers are screaming from the mountaintops that we need help, our communities are under siege, and we need help. What you’re telling us is, ‘Don’t ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way. I can’t listen when you ask that way.’ 

We’re done asking, Drew. People who share your sentiments, who express those and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem. And it’s unfortunate because I considered you a friend, I looked up to you as somebody I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes you should shut the f*** up.”

As you can clearly see, many teammates are extremely disappointed and hurt by Brees’ comment, as to be expected. It has reached a point where Brees has been on most major news and sports news stations for the last couple of hours.

Responses from around the sports world

As mentioned earlier, there have been many other responses from players both in the NFL and other leagues. I will be throwing some of the biggest names and most influential posts down below this paragraph.

The list just continues on and on, it’s likely up in the thousands of responses to this point. Overall, this was just a bad situation that could have been avoided if Drew has just not said what he said. He is 100% allowed to have his opinion, and many people understand that, but the timing was just absolutely horrendous.

What are your sentiments of the comment made by Drew Brees? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Jeremy T. on Twitter @ClutchWDN.

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