Drew Brees apologizes for protests comments that were ‘insensitive and completely missed the mark’

"In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused."

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he stood with the Black community in the fight against racial injustice.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he stood with the Black community in the fight against racial injustice. –The Associated Press

One day after voicing his disagreement with players who do not stand during the national anthem, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees issued an apology on Instagram, saying his comments “were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.”

In an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, Brees referenced his grandfathers, who both fought in World War II, and said he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”

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Those comments outraged players across the league, including Patriots defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty, and former tight end Martellus Bennett.

“This is a disgrace!” the McCourtys tweeted from their shared account. “To speak about your grandfathers as if there weren’t black men fighting next to them. Those men later returned to a country that hated them. Don’t avoid the issue and try to make it about a flag or the military. Fight like your grandfathers for what’s right!”

“Damn y’all thought Drew would say something different than what he did?” Bennett began. “Tell me one white [quarterback] that truly stands for something other than their [C]aptain America images. Not one of them spoke up when it wasn’t easy to speak up.”

In his apology Thursday morning, Brees said he stands with the Black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality, and asked for forgiveness.

Here is the full apology from Brees:

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.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

“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.

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“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.

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“For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.”

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