The message to the NFL and other major organizations about institutional racism and police brutality is being driven home from every angle.
In a marvelous video featuring several NFL stars, including New England Patriots all-world cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and posted by New York Giants star Saquon Barkley, the players address the NFL’s silencing of peaceful protests (ala Colin Kaepernick) and their tone-deaf approach to issues impacting the African-American community.
Here is a look at the video:
— Saquon Barkley (@saquon) June 5, 2020
Gilmore has done the New England Patriots organization and Jordan Brand proud with his inclusion in this video, as have the other men included from around the NFL.
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The NFL is widely believed to have blackballed Kaepernick from the league after his kneeling protest drew the ire of some fans and owners. However, the George Floyd murder that has rocked the country has seemingly proven to be just an example of what Kaepernick was protesting back in 2016.
On Wednesday, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees received backlash for his insensitive remarks when asked about players potentially returning to the kneeling protests.
Rather than addressing the issue, Brees chose to talk about how he’d never support someone disrespecting the flag or the country, which was never the point of the protest and referenced his grandfathers who were veterans.
Brees’ Saints teammates, athletes from other sports, other prominent people and fans slammed the future Hall-of-Famer for nearly 24 hours. Brees issued the following Instagram post as an apology for his insensitive remarks:
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.
Brees followed this apology up with a video:
Brees’ sincerity has been questioned and it is unclear whether the video featuring NFL players, which included Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, was a product of Brees’ inability to relate to the issue at hand.
In any case, Gilmore and Co. have delivered one of the most poignant protests of the movement thus far.
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