New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees rightfully garnered much criticism yesterday after doubling-down on a series of out-of-touch comments that hurt the hearts of teammates, fans, and the world.
After a team meeting and taking the time to speak with vocal critics of his comments like Cam Jordan, Malcolm Jenkins, and other team leaders, Brees has taken to Instagram to issue an apology:
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. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.
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. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.
This is where I stand:
I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference.I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today.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.I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement.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.
I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy.
I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. 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.
It seems like a sincere apology from someone who recognized how his words can, and did, hurt. Maybe it’s all a PR stunt. Maybe these are fake words meant to appease the fans and the locker room in an attempt to have everything blow over. Only Drew knows what is in Drew’s heart.
But if this honestly represents a change in his mindset, it represents one of the best possible outcomes, and just goes to show why the #BlackLivesMatter movement is so important. Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem. Peaceful protests - even riots - throughout the country after the murder of George Floyd.
The message has always been about making change, and change starts with open dialogue. It takes people in power, who are part of the problem, being forced to confront those demons. It takes those people to recognize the problem, and then try to work together to be a part of the solution.
If - and admittedly it is indeed still only an “if” - Drew has sincerely had his viewpoints changed in light of the criticism and backlash he faced yesterday, then I count this as another win for the cause.
Black Lives Matter, Drew. It was never about the anthem. I truly hope you can see that now.
But as the Saints locker room says: “Don’t just talk about it. Be about it.” Let’s see if Drew’s future actions match his words.