Social media is weighing in after New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized for his comments regarding players kneeling to protest racial inequality and police brutality in which he said that he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." Brees' words, spoken during an interview with CNN and coming amid protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd, sparked fierce condemnation from fans, including rebukes from his own teammates like Malcolm Jenkins, Michael Thomas, and Cam Jordan. On Thursday, however, Brees walked back his comments, acknowledging that they were "insensitive and completely missed the mark."
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In his statement, shared to both Instagram and Twitter, Brees apologized to "my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt," stating that "It breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused." Directly addressing his remarks, Brees said "they lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy" and became "divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy." The NFL player went on to clarify his stance, writing that he stands "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."
He also condemned "the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today" and acknowledged 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." He added that he takes "full responsibility and accountability" for his Tuesday comments and the way in which they were perceived.
As with most apologies, Brees' words were met with mixed reactions. While some applauded his message and attempt to walk back what he had said just a day prior, others criticized him for changing his stance at all and others felt that his new words were insincere or simply not enough. Keep scrolling to see how fans are reacting to Brees' apology.
You only sorry because there was backlash— shera (@pujashera) June 4, 2020
Don’t apologize, you did nothing wrong!!!!— POLITIJO (@politijo) June 4, 2020
Sir, you've done nothing to be sorry for. You're a great man who has done much for the community in New Orleans.— Kim M (@McCartneylass) June 4, 2020
From a Veteran who actually fought for this country, not a piece of fabric. I fought for the freedom and safety of every American life.
We fought for the right to protest, this is not disrespectful this is their right!— Skyleigh #StayHome 105th Day@🏠 (@Sky_Lee_1) June 4, 2020
Lost all respect for you yesterday. (And I’m white)— Karen Hannon (@KarenEHannon) June 4, 2020
You shouldn’t have to apologize... it’s your right to speak what you feel!— Debra Purman (@DebraPurman) June 4, 2020
You made it clear years ago and last night you do not stand with the black community at all. But overnight you've seen the light and changed your stance? Put your money where you mouth is and donate to bail relief or GTFO with your damage control.— Stephanie (@sstephs) June 4, 2020
It’s cool people make mistakes won’t let one bad comment ruin a lifetime of good— KNICKS 4 LIFE #rjbarrettszn (@knicksfan691) June 4, 2020
You could start by saying kneeling was not disrespectful to the flag.— carter (@cstinchc) June 4, 2020
I say this with respect and hope you will reflect.
The American flag is supposed to represent freedom and equality for all. The reality is our flag was defiled long ago by freedom and equality for some. Honor your ancestors bravery and sacrifice by demanding equality for all.— GoodellFixesGames (@FixesGames) June 4, 2020
How disappointing that a good man can't express an extremely non-controversial opinion without having to apologize for it. He caved and that's too bad.— Steven Seagull (@GoBucs_2020) June 4, 2020
Man it’s to late for that. Now that the backlash coming you wanna retrace you’re steps and that ain’t cool we know you meant what you said. 😤— That Boi Cutty (@JcuttyVaFinest) June 4, 2020
Don’t apologize unless you did wrong. You didn’t.— Aaron (@enronpaul) June 4, 2020
Ya lost me at the “I’m sick about the way my comments were perceived.” You’re not sorry you said them; you’re sorry people called you out on them.— Elizabeth Wyman (@_ElizabethWyman) June 4, 2020