As protests continue to grip the United States in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, many have used this time to reflect on the struggles of African American people up to this point in the country's history.
For as long as the United States has existed, the African American community have struggled to attain equal rights in the country. Protests trying to achieve this status have come in many forms over the years, all of which seem to be condemned by a certain segment of American society.
While some point out that the current protests, which have turned violent in some cases, are not the way to go about things, others have rightly responded that more subtle stances have equally been rejected.
Colin Kaepernick famously decided to 'take a knee' during the playing of the American national anthem during his time in the NFL as a protest to police brutality towards the African American community and was slammed by many for 'disrespecting the flag'. He ultimately has been shunned by the NFL as a result.
Many are now looking back on Kaerpenick's protest, with the issue at the heart of his efforts rearing its head once more.
Speaking to Yahoo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was asked about his opinion on Kaepernick's protest in light of recent events, but he was steadfast in saying he could never accept anybody disrespecting the American flag in such a manner.
Highlight: @readdanwrite asks @drewbrees what the star NFL quarterback thinks about "players kneeling again when the NFL season starts."@drewbrees: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Full exchange: pic.twitter.com/MpCkFyOMed
— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) June 3, 2020
I will never agree with somebody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America...
Is everything right with out country now? No it's not, we still have a long way to go.
But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better, and that we are all part of the solution.
While he did admit America had problems, Brees seemingly failed to acknowledge the the cause behind Kaepernick's protest. As many would tell you, it was never about disrespecting the American flag.
A number of high profile figures, including LeBron James and Brees' teammate Michael Thomas, have come out to question the rationale behind Brees' comments.
men who fought as well for this country. I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitement. He never found Kap peaceful protest offensive because he and I both know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong! God bless you. 🙏🏾✊🏾👑
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 3, 2020
He don’t know no better.
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 3, 2020
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 3, 2020
This shows you that there are a lot of people & companies out there right now that will say they stand with us but only do it so they dont get bashed not because they mean it. pic.twitter.com/DB3wF4JdKB
— kuz (@kylekuzma) June 4, 2020
How can you be in the locker rooms, speaking to the players, know the reasoning, and yet still be dumb enough to believe it’s about the flag. Like HOW???? He should know better than that. He just doesn’t care. Damn man not Drew...
— Damon Harrison Sr. (@snacks) June 3, 2020
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) June 3, 2020
Drew u on bullsshit. S. T. F. U
— Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) June 3, 2020
I predict Drew Brees will be the most sacked quarterback in history if the NFL plays next year.
— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@WajahatAli) June 4, 2020
The most impassioned response came from Brees' New Orleans Saints teammate Malcolm Jenkins.
Jenkins, who played with the Saints from 2009-2013 and then rejoined the team earlier this year, posted an emotional video on his Twitter account, seemingly in disbelief about the comments his quarterback had made.
I recorded a few videos when thinking of how to respond to Drew Brees, I don’t take any of it back-I meant what I said-I removed the 1st video because I knew it be more about the headlines. I want people to understand how those of us struggling with what’s going on feel pic.twitter.com/T054qt0YEz
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) June 3, 2020
Drew Brees, if you don't understand how hurtful and insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem.
To think that because your grandfathers serves for this country and you have a great respect for the flag, that everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts you do is ridiculous. It shows that you don't know history.
When our grandfathers fought for this country and served, they didn't come back to a heroes welcome. They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms, they came back to racism, to complete violence.
Here we are in 2020 with the whole country on fire, everyone witnessing a black man being murdered at the hands of police in cold blood, and the first thing that you do is criticise one's peaceful protest.
Brees would later publish an apology on his Instagram page, saying his comments lacked awareness and compassion.
View this post on Instagram
I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused. 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. 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. This is where I stand: I stand 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. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge 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. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening...and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.