New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ pass towards the Black community…incomplete!
One thing we all can agree with, it is very difficult to make the world a better place!
In Brees’ career, he has thrown for 77,416 yards, 547 touchdowns, and 74.3 completion percentage. But it’s the one comment he made during an interview with Yahoo finance that even his loyal “Who Dat” fanbase is questioning “Who is Drew Brees”?
Brees should treat all verbal apologies similar to how he operates huddles in his hurry-up offenses. Brees spoke from his heart when he said “I can never agree with anyone disrespecting the flag of the United States of America” in regard to his thoughts on why protesters are in the streets. It is going to be hard for players to forget those words considering that this nation is in the midst of a crisis regarding black lives in the presence of police.
Why is the mere mention of “Black Lives Matter”, such a controversial statement?
I know a handful of black athletes who speak glowingly about all of the wonderful work they witnessed Brees do within Black communities that directly benefit them. That’s why so many are hurt and deeply disappointed given the current climate. Especially when Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, was asked about kneeling, he said, “if I lose fans, it’s ok”. Additionally, Houston Texans defensive superstar J.J. Watt recently echoed the same united sentiments on player’s right to kneel. Did Drew Brees ever bother to ask any of the countless Black teammates or opponents about their perspective?
Furthermore, that flag does not mean the same to Black people who have family members and friends who fought in the same wars as Bree’s grandfathers. During that time period, the military was segregated and the Black men who traveled to foreign land fought for the freedom they did not receive when they returned home.
Similarly, to how divisive the world appears at this time. Musically I am torn too. As much as Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today” is appropriate. Grievously, so is Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit”, which describes Black folk being hung from trees. Sounds outrageous? Just a few DAYS ago, a young promising Black man was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, CA.
Just imagine if the only consequence of killing somebody at work was getting fired? Well unless the officers responsible for the death of Rashard Brooks are charged with murder, then that outcome is not far-fetched. This past weekend, Brooks was another Black man killed while in the hands of the police. As black men and women, we were born black and will die back. However, we just do not want to die simply for being black.
Growing up in the ’80s, I once heard a Black man tell his son, “even if you told a white person about your plight and pain as a Black man, they still wouldn’t understand”. Brees clearly fell into that category. For the past 4 years, a young Black man who played in the same league, at the same position, told Brees and others exactly what was happening in the Black communities concerning the police.
In 2016, former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick peacefully protested during the National Anthem by taking a knee due to the treatment of minorities in this country. Although Kaepernick later spoke even more plainly and mentioned he was fighting to raise awareness of “unarmed Black men and women being killed by police”. The context of the narrative was hijacked to mean “Kaepernick was disrespecting the flag”.
In 2020, as the world slowly began adjusting to a global pandemic, they were about to bear witness with their own eyes to exactly what Kaepernick was talking about in its rawest form in the comfort of their own homes. Blatant bigoted racism.
On May 25th in Minneapolis, MN a modern-day lynching took place in broad daylight! While three officers held a Black man named George Floyd’s legs down, officer Derek Chauvin with his hands comfortably tucked in his pockets, placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for just under 9 minutes. Chauvin displayed a brazen Teflon demeanor while cameras captured the murder in its entirety. His hands in his pockets showcased how worthless and disposable Chauvin felt Floyd’s life meant. Floyd pleaded repeatedly “Help me, I can’t breathe”. The agony Floyd endured was so severe, he reverted back to his infancy state and cried out for his deceased mother. If there was one person within the sports world the Black football community thought would understand, it was Drew Brees. After all, Brees’ jersey number is 9 and plays in New Orleans, LA.
Oh, by the way, anyone who watched that videotape of Floyd’s murder and does not conclude all 4 officers should be jailed to the full extent of the law, you are part of the problem!
The global rebellion and social unrest that sparked protests in every single state in the U.S. as well as abroad. Still wasn’t enough for Brees to know why all genders, creeds, sexualities, ethnicities, and religions were marching in the streets fighting for new laws regarding police accountability. It begs the questions, “Is Drew Brees demonstrating white privilege”? “When Brees is with his white friends in private, what is being said”? “Is the only loss Brees can relate to with Black people, is a loss in a football game”?
Could you imagine if those 4 officers were not charged and are not jailed to the full extent of the law? Who’s next? Black women, black elders, black children? That is the bottom line, as Black men, we will not rest until our women, elders, and children are protected. The laws as currently constructed do not afford us that simple liberty.
My recommendation to Brees is to follow Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s lead and reach into his pockets. Ryan established a GoFundMe fundraiser aimed at advancing lives in the Black communities of Atlanta. His goal is to raise $2M dollars reflective of his #2 jersey. As a kick-starter, Ryan donated $500k of his own money. Brees does a masterful job operating within a spread offense. Brees should select 9 Black communities and donate $250k to each. Why a quarter-million dollars? First, that amount would beat Ryan’s target amount. Second, although payphones are scarce, they cost a quarter to use, and ultimately it’s going to be Brees’ call.
In closing, one of the most brilliant minds to walk this earth, James Baldwin, poignantly said, “I simply want to be able to raise my children…in peace! And arrive at my own maturity…in peace! I don’t want to be defined by you. I think that you and I might learn a great deal from each other. If you can overcome the curtain of my color”.
As King Nipsey Hussle said, “The Marathon Continues”.
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