It didn’t take long for current & former players, social media and many in the Saints fan base to turn on Drew Brees after he had an interview with Yahoo! Finace’s Daniel Roberts early on June 3, 2020. In the interview he was asked that if kneeling once again returned as a form of silent protest during the NFL season, would he support it. His response was the following:
“Well, I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America. Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the National Anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army, and one of the Marine Corps, both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place
So every time I stand with my hand over my heart, looking at that flag and singing the National Anthem, that’s what I think about. And in many cases, it brings me to tears thinking about all that has been sacrificed, not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s and everyone, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it’s not, we still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart is it shows unity, it shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and then we are all part of the solution.”
Players like Demario Davis, Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Malcolm Jenkins, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and others brought forth comments of displeasure in varying degrees to what the future Hall of Fame quarterback had to say.
Jenkins let out some of the strongest feelings on the subject, as did Chauncey, with videos being posted on social media. In his first Instagram video (which was later removed and replaced with a longer one), Jenkins stated:
“We’re done asking Drew... I considered you a friend, I looked up to you, you’re someone I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes you should shut the f*** up.”
Current #Saints Safety @MalcolmJenkins is also speaking up against tone-deaf @drewbrees— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) June 3, 2020
"We're done asking Drew!"
"I considered you a friend, I looked up to you, you're someone I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes you should shut the f*ck up." pic.twitter.com/KPHinGuQR7
Brees’ comments even reached the thousands of protesters in New Orleans who were recorded chanting “F*** Drew Brees” by Bryn Stole of the Times-Picayune/The Advocate. Could Brees really have lost the city and his teammates with one interview?
While losing the support of the entire community is extremely unlikely, and we of course cannot forget Brees’s community contributions, nor is anyone calling him an out right racist, his comments do seem to indicate he is out of touch with some of the most important people in his life: the peers he plays the game with.
Young players like Gardner-Johnson come into the league excited to play with players like Brees, but following his comments Gardner-Johnson put out a video calling out the fanbase, saying that if they were upset with Brees now that that anger and frustration should translate to upcoming games on Sunday during the NFL season.
Former Saints wide receiver Marques Colston put out one of the longest responses to what Brees said with a post on Twitter. He didn’t mince words, saying that “I saw a something today from a former teammate that I couldn’t ignore. Drew, I had a ton of respect for you as a teammate on the field. But, as a man, a black man, and a father your comments today cut deep. Not because you ahve an opinion or perspective- but becuase it continues to be so dismissive and insensitive others’.”
Brees has yet to release a statement following the backlash received from his earlier comments, and fans have just concern to worry about how this will affect the locker room moving forward.
Coming into 2020, and for several years, the Saints were seen as having one of the more stable locker room situations in the NFL. Now, after these comments have caused even the fans in the streets of New Orleans to call out Brees, a lot of work must be done to right the ship.