There are times in life when sports and human rights both have green lights through the same intersection.
Professional athletes have some of the loudest voices in the world and they can be used as a vehicle for change.
New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees used his voice on Wednesday and other star players used theirs to respond.
During an interview with Yahoo Finance, Brees was asked about the possibility of NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem, a silent protest against police brutality started from former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
The future Hall of Famer doubled down on his unwavering opinion regarding the anthem, saying he’ll never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.
Brees openly criticized Kaepernick four years ago, not for speaking out on an important issue, but for the manner in which he did so.
In light of George Floyd’s death in police custody and the ongoing protests that have ensued, Brees still isn’t changing his mind on an issue that’s very close to his heart. “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corps, both risking their lives to protect their country and to try to make their country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about. And in many cases, it brings me to tears thinking all that has been sacrificed. Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the Civil Rights movements of the 60’s and everyone and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right 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 is 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.”
Intentions seemingly genuine, but even his own teammates are not on board with those comments. His favorite target Michael Thomas saying “he don’t know no better,” and later “we don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.”
Another teammate, running back Alvin Kamara, simply saying “oop.”
Even LeBron James weighing in, responding “Wow, man. Colin Kaepernick kneeling has absolutely nothing to do with the disrespect of the flag and our soldiers.”
James also referencing his father-in-law, a war veteran, who never found Kaepernick’s protest to be offensive.
Brees later provided a follow-up statement to ESPN saying: “I love and respect my teammates. I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice. I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.”