Several current and former NFL players criticized New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees after he made controversial comments about kneeling during the national anthem. Shannon Sharpe, the co-host of Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, was among this group. He called for Brees to retire during a segment of the FS1 show despite the QB issuing an apology.
"Drew Brees said something, Skip [Bayless], that I found insulting, to be quite honest with you," Sharpe said. "He said my grandfathers fought in World War II. I didn't know two men won World War II, Skip. They should be commended. But did he know that black men fought alongside his grandfather in World War II? Skip, they were fighting in a foreign land for a freedom — that when they came home — they did not enjoy like Drew Brees' grandfathers did."
Drew Brees should probably retire pic.twitter.com/61nuI7jjys— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) June 4, 2020
As Sharpe continued to explain, Brees' apology for his initial comments about how kneeling is disrespecting the American flag is "meaningless." He said that the other players know that he spoke his heart the first time around. At this point, Sharpe believes that Brees should just retire because the locker rooms will never be the same.
"Take it from a guy who was a leader in the locker room for a number of years," Sharpe continued. "At every step, Skip, I've been a leader in the locker room. What he said, they will never look at him the same because he spoke his heart."
Some of Brees' teammates heard his apology and have since weighed in. Linebacker Demario Davis reacted live on CNN, saying how his apology was a sign of true leadership. He expressed appreciation that Brees admitted missing the mark and pledged to listen. Davis called this a model for all of America.
Additionally, wide receiver Michael Thomas said that he had accepted the apology. The All-Pro initially expressed disappointment and other emotions in the immediate aftermath of Brees' comments. "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," Thomas tweeted on Thursday.
Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan also showed support for his QB after seeing his apology. He said that Brees had "dropped the bar" but he agreed that the apology was a sign of leadership. As Jordan explained, he believes that open hearts and open dialogue can expand comprehension and help create positive change.