Earlier this past week New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees stated that he did not support NFL players kneeling for the flag in a tone deaf response to a question posed to him in an interview.
After intense public and private scrutiny from the media, fans, and his own teammates Brees backtracked on his statement, and then ultimately released an apology video on Instagram. Brees made his case during a private team meeting, and seems to have made amends with many of his teammates who have been affected by the racial inequality in America.
Brees ultimately understood his mistake and has taken actions to rectify those comments he made during the interview. One person who was not a fan of Brees retracting his tone deaf comments was President Donald Trump.
Trump took to Twitter to call out Brees for retracting his hurtful comments and doubled down on his rhetoric condemning the peaceful protests NFL players participated in by kneeling for the national anthem.
...We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag - NO KNEELING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2020
While many would have expected Brees to back down, or at the very least remained silent, when President Trump took to Twitter the quarterback doubled down on his apology and his newly informed position. Brees took to Instagram to directly respond to Trump’s Twitter comments. Brees defended the need to be an ally of the Black community while once again admitting that this situation is far more than just kneeling for the anthem and flag.
View this post on Instagram
To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.
It remains to be seen how the Saints will respond or be affected by this conflict created by Brees. But with their current locker room chemistry they represent the team with the best chance of overcoming this type of adversity that was spearheaded by its leader. At this point Brees has acknowledged his mistake and changed his narrative. Now we have to see it in action.