New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees backtracked on his views about kneeling during the national anthem on Thursday.
Brees apologized for the comments he made Wednesday regarding the possibility that NFL players would resume kneeling during the anthem this season, as Colin Kaepernick and many others did during the 2016 season.
The 41-year-old had said that he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag,” but apologized for those comments in an Instagram post.
“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,” Brees wrote. “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.”
Brees had been under scrutiny from people all over the sports world, including Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James.
WOW MAN!! 🤦🏾♂️. Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of 🇺🇸 and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those https://t.co/pvUWPmh4s8
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 3, 2020
However, the quarterback’s apology was received well by his coaches and teammates.
“What we had hoped the first time was that Drew would elaborate more on racism and the sentiments of the black community,” Saints linebacker Demario Davis said during an interview Thursday morning on CNN. “And he admitted he missed the mark. So for him to come out and say, ‘I missed the mark, I’ve been insensitive, but what I’m gonna start doing is listening and learning from the black community and finding ways that I can help them.’ I think that’s a model for all of America.”
JUST NOW: "For him to admit that he was wrong.. I think that is leadership at its finest."
— Alli Hedges Maser (@AllisonLHedges) June 4, 2020
New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas tweeted his response to Brees’ statement.
One of my brothers made a public statement yesterday that I disagreed with. He apologized & I accept it because that’s what we are taught to do as Christians. Now back to the movement! #GeorgeFloyd
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 4, 2020
While James has yet to comment on the apology, it is clear that players across all sports are in support of the political protests and movements against police brutality.