The death of George Floyd has caused outrage across the United States, and many athletes in the country’s biggest leagues have begun to speak out against racism and police brutality. But while a majority are condemning racism, one NFL quarterback reiterated his stance on kneeling during the national anthem… and it wasn’t pretty.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees doesn’t have an issue with the message surrounding kneeling during the national anthem, he just doesn’t like the method chosen to get the message across.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “Let me just tell 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 Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our 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, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed.
“Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ‘60s, 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 is 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.”
Brees certainly is within his rights to state his opinion, but it seems his comments could cause an issue in the Saints’ locker room. Wide receiver Michael Thomas didn’t seem too happy with Brees’ comments, and people even suggested that the 27-year-old should be careful who he crosses.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in 2016 and many people took it out of context, thinking he was disrespecting the military and the flag of the United States.
As Kaepernick’s movement swept the NFL by storm, resulting in many players taking a knee, he was eventually ousted by the league that same year as no one wanted to sign him for the 2017 campaign. Although he’s far more talented than many quarterbacks currently under contract in the NFL, the 32-year-old hasn’t been able to land a gig despite holding a work out this offseason.
All of these actions come after Floyd, an African American man, died last week while being violently apprehended by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
The 46-year-old was pinned to the ground by Chauvin, who then proceeded to kneel on his neck and prevent him from breathing. Floyd pleaded for his life and even told officer Chauvin he couldn’t breathe, but Chauvin refused to move off his neck.
Floyd was later pronounced dead at the hospital, and Chauvin was arrested Friday on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.