It has been quite the week for Drew Brees after the New Orleans Saints quarterback received criticism for speaking out against protests conducted during the national anthem. Brees later apologized (twice) and President Donald Trump took to Twitter to tell Brees he should have stood by his original comments.
Hours later, Brees posted a pointed message to Trump on both Instagram and Twitter. Brees backtracked from his original comments noting “we can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues” implying that the president was part of the problem rather than the solution.
“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag,” Brees explained. “It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?”
Trump Told Brees He ‘Should Not Have Taken Back His Original Stance’
This is not the first time Trump has called out NFL players for anthem protests. Back in 2017, Trump referred to players who knelt during the national anthem as a “son of a b**ch.” Trump complimented Brees before calling out the Saints quarterback noting he “should not have taken back his original stance.”
“I am a big fan of Drew Brees,” Trump tweeted. “I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high. …We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”
Brees Encouraged Trump to ‘Listen & Learn’ From the Black Community
Brees posted a simple background with the text “To President Trump” for an Instagram photo. Brees encouraged the president to “listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities.”
“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities,” Brees continued. “We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”
Brees Received Public Criticism From Several of His Teammates
After his initial comments, Brees was criticized by several of his Saints teammates including Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Cameron Jordan and Malcolm Jenkins. Brees later apologized through an Instagram post and followed it up hours later with a video message once again emphasizing his regret.
Brees addressed the team in a recent Saints virtual meeting. Thomas quickly retweeted Brees’ comments to Trump and appeared pleased with the quarterback making pointed remarks to the president.
“Super Bowl or Bust I might have to log off,” Thomas responded on Twitter after Brees’ comments to Trump.