Former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protests were never about the flag or the national anthem, as Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints learned the hard way this week.
The veteran signal caller drew criticism on Wednesday after speaking out against Kaepernick’s protests before NFL games in 2016, calling it disrespectful to members of the military like his World War II veteran grandfathers, to not stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
But Brees issued an apology for his insensitive comments after athletes around the country, including teammates Malcolm Jenkins and Michael Thomas, emotionally expressed their disappointment with the future Hall of Famer for not understanding what the demonstrations were about to begin with.
Kaepernick’s intention was never to disrespect the flag or military, but to demand action against police brutality and social injustice. In fact, he went out of his way to make sure he went about it the right way.
Nate Boyer, a former Green Baret and Seattle Seahawk, is the one who advised Kaepernick kneel in the first place. And on Thursday, Boyer reacted to Bree’s comments.
“The only disrespectful knee I’ve ever seen was the one in George Floyd’s neck,” Boyer told Barstool Radio, referring to the Minneapolis police officer who killed a black man he was restraining by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes.
United States Army Green Beret @NateBoyer37 on @BarstoolRadio today discussing the Drew Brees/Colin Kaepernick kneeling situation. Cut right to the chase with a pretty powerful quote: pic.twitter.com/SpUQdAeu1H
— KFC (@KFCBarstool) June 4, 2020
Boyer expanded on his comments to 97.3 The Fan in San Diego, via USA Today, speaking to the good Brees does for his community, including his philanthropy after Hurricane Katrina and the work he’s done to secure voting rights for formerly incarcerated people in Louisiana.
But Boyer made no excuse for Brees’ insensitive and tone-deaf comments.
“But the fact of the matter is that we’ve gotta — for these guys that are working really hard in the league, a lot of these players — make sure that the narrative is understood that the protests are about racial inequality, social injustice and policy brutality and that kneeling during the anthem was a mechanism to raise that attention and to get those voices heard,” the former Green Baret said. “But it’s not about disrespecting the flag or disrespecting the military, and I think Drew knows that.”
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images