Since the death of George Floyd, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has been one of the most outspoken athletes on the issue. He went so far as to retroactively justify Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protests from several years ago.
New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees was recently asked by Yahoo Sports if he now agrees with Kaepernick’s stance on the National Anthem. Here’s what he had to say:
I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. 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.
His words have not received positive reviews from many in the sports world. It didn’t take long for James to sounds off on the comments.
Many have conflated kneeling during the National Anthem with disrespecting the flag and the military. However, James and others have said that it’s not about disrespect, it’s about bringing attention to bigger issues like police brutality.
Brees’ Teammates Aren’t Happy With Comments
Brees has been a strong supporter of the military throughout his career so his comments shouldn’t come as a surprise. That said, they are already not coming off as popular in the Saints’ locker room. His top wide receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have hinted how they feel on Twitter.
When your two best pass-catchers aren’t happy with you, that could be a problem. Brees is one of the stronger leaders in the NFL and he’ll probably try to do damage control at some point.
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James Has Been Very Vocal on Past Issues
James has been one of the strongest voices when it comes to social justice. He’s been very vocal on a number of issues. He even made headlines back in 2014 when he decided to wear a shirt that said “I Can’t Breathe” in reference to the death of Eric Garner.
The sports world is very different now and players are much more comfortable using their platform to voices their opinions. While it may irk people who disagree with them, players will likely continue to be very open with their thoughts going forward.