Amid his controversial remarks regarding players kneeling during the national anthem, a newly resurfaced photo shows New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees doing just that during a 2017 game against the Miami Dolphins in London. The image, which resurfaced Tuesday after Brees said that he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," shows the quarterback taking a knee alongside several players. During that same game, Dolphins players Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas, and Michael Thomas also knelt.
I don’t understand what is Drew Brees right now! He says he’s against kneeling but yet in 2017 he came along with a lot of his teammates to KNEEEEELLLL! #drewbreesisoverparty #saints #nfl #NFL #WednesdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/brxh5bcUfO— SportsWorld™️ (@SportsWorld2K) June 3, 2020
Ahead of that 2017 game, Brees had announced that he would be joining several other players in kneeling before the national anthem. In a tweet, he said that it was "a way to show respect to all." He announced that the Saints would "kneel in solidarity prior to the national anthem & stand together during the anthem."
The decision to kneel was in protest of President Donald Trump's comments regarding the NFL and its players, according to AJC. Just days before the game, the president, in a tweet, said that "if a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem." Trump suggested that if they chose to kneel, they should be fired and "find something else to do."
NFL players kneeling during the national anthem was a peaceful protest started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who chose to take a knee to protest racial injustice. Kaepernick initially sat during the national anthem, though after speaking with former teammate Nate Boyer, who is a veteran, he began to kneel as it was more respectful. Regardless, it still caused widespread controversy and even came up in a recent conversation between Brees and CNN.
Asked his opinion on players kneeling, Brees said that he would "never agree" with it, as it was "disrespecting the flag" and "our country." His comments sparked swift backlash, with Brees on Thursday issuing a formal apology to his "friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt." In the statement, Brees took "full responsibility and accountability" for his remarks, which he acknowledged as lacking "awareness and any type of compassion or empathy" and called "insensitive and completely missed the mark."