• Nathan Max

Brees Comments Tone Deaf

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

Photo credit: Gerald Herbert/AP. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees came out Wednesday against anthem kneeling.

Drew Brees needs to learn how to read the room.

The New Orleans Saints QB made waves Wednesday when he came out strong against NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, saying, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”

Brees, 41, has since apologized, but the fact he made these comments in the first place is fairly shocking considering current events. How is it that Brees is still falling for the canard that kneeling during the national anthem has anything to do with disrespect for America?

It’s a protest about police brutality against people of color, or in other words, the vast majority of Brees’s teammates.

When making his statement to Yahoo Finance, Brees referenced his grandfathers, both of whom he said fought in World War II. Here’s what Brees doesn’t understand. Those men fought for our values: Democracy, freedom of speech, freedom to peacefully assemble and the freedom to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not the freedom to kill civilians with impunity. That’s what his grandfathers were fighting against.

Former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick heroically sacrificed his entire career to spread the message that police in this country were not being held accountable for their actions and were terrorizing people of color. Many white people, like Brees, steadfastly refused to believe it until now.

But, apparently, even after watching white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kill black resident George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes, shocking the nation into massive demonstrations during a global pandemic, Brees still somehow doesn’t get it. How much more evidence does he need to see the entire point of kneeling for the national anthem?

Standing at attention with your hand over your heart like a mindless, brainwashed drone, while someone sings a song, doesn’t make you patriotic. What makes you patriotic are your actions and having the courage to stand for righteousness, even if it causes you personal harm.

Over the last week, we have seen true patriots across the country. More than 10,000 people have been arrested since the demonstrations began, according to the Associated Press, many of them for exercising their constitutional rights to assemble and peacefully protest. Some, like Justin Howell, a 20-year-old black Texas State University student who has suffered brain damage after being shot by a “non-lethal” projectile in Austin, Tex., sacrificed much more for a cause.

Kneeling for the anthem doesn’t disrespect anyone. The act takes courage, especially for celebrities, because once they do it, they know it will bring all sorts of unwanted attention and possibly hurt their careers. A man who has worn Walter Payton’s image on his uniform every game since winning the league’s Man of the Year award for his charitable works in 2006 needs to understand that.

On the field, Brees is a Hall of Fame baller, one of the greatest of all time.

Off the field, he just showed his game needs a lot of fine-tuning.