Malcolm Jenkins Tells Drew Brees: ‘Shut the F**k Up’ & ‘Understand Your Privilege’

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Getty Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints

Malcolm Jenkins has long been the NFL’s leading advocate for drawing awareness to social injustice. In Philadelphia, his teammates had his back and joined him in solidarity.

In New Orleans? Things are off to a rocky start. Jenkins, who signed a four-year deal with the Saints in free agency, recently took to Instagram to post a tearfully emotional reaction to Drew Brees’ comments about “players kneeling” and “disrespecting the flag.” In a four-minute video, Jenkins tried to explain why that sentiment is unacceptable.

“Drew Brees … if you don’t understand how hurtful and insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem,” Jenkins said. “To think that your grandfathers served in this country and you have a great respect for the flag that everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts that you do is ridiculous. And it shows you don’t know history.”

Remember, Brees is the starting quarterback and undisputed leader on the field for the Saints. The two shared a locker room together for five years (2009-2013) before Jenkins landed in Philly. Now they are teammates once again heading into the 2020 campaign.

“When you talk about the brotherhood and all this other bullshit, it’s just lip service or it’s only on the field,” Jenkins said while fighting through tears. “Because when we step off the field and I take my helmet off, I’m a black man walking around America and I’m telling you I’m dealing with these things and my communities are dealing with these things.”

Jenkins, the co-founder of the NFL’s Players Coalition, also blasted Brees with some choice NSFW words: “You’re somebody who I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes, you should shut the f–k up.”

UPDATE: Jenkins edited his first video and released a second one after acknowledging that maybe he was a bit harsh. The commentary transcribed here is a combination of the two. The first one has been deleted.

The Pro Bowl safety wasn’t done, though. Jenkins got more emotional with each breath as he described how “hurt” and “disappointed” he was in Brees. He called the quarterback out for not understanding his own “privilege.”

“Drew, unfortunately, you’re somebody who doesn’t understand your privilege,” said Jenkins, referring to the issue of white privilege. “You don’t understand the potential that you have to actually be an advocate for the people you call brothers. Because when the world tells you, that you’re not worthy, that your life doesn’t matter … the last place you want to hear it is from the guys that you go to war with and you consider to be allies and to be your friends. Even though you’re my teammate, I can’t let this slide.”

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Brees Condemns Disrespecting Flag and Country

The firestorm started when Brees was asked about the possibility of NFL players protesting during football games. Colin Kaepernick started a trend when he took a knee during the national anthem in 2016 and it grew into a national movement. It was a way to get the point across about social injustice and racial inequality in America.

It has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag or the military, yet the peaceful protest has been interpreted that way in many circles. Obviously Brees sees it that way and the national conversation about it isn’t going away in light of the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

“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. “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 our country.”

Brees’ comments were immediately met with backlash on social media, most notably from LeBron James. The Lakers star said “wow man” and revealed that his father-in-law served in the military. Athletes like Kaepernick who choose to take a knee to fight social injustice has nothing to do with the flag or the military.

James wrote: “You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of Flag of United States and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those.”

It’s an argument that Jenkins brought up in his emotionally-charged Instagram post, too.

Jenkins said: “Drew, you don’t understand the history and why people like me, people of my skin color whose grandfathers fought for this country and served, and who protested — not against the national anthem — but against what was happening in America and to the fabric of what this country stands for.”

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