While it’s unclear whether recent events will lead to more NFL players kneeling during the national anthem this season, at least one superstar intends to keep standing: Drew Brees.
The New Orleans Saints quarterback explained his position Wednesday to Yahoo! Finance when asked how the NFL will respond with racial injustice and police brutality at the forefront nearly four years after Colin Kaepernick first took a knee.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said. “Let me just tell you 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, it 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’s 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.”
Highlight: @readdanwrite asks @drewbrees what the star NFL quarterback thinks about "players kneeling again when the NFL season starts."@drewbrees: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Full exchange: pic.twitter.com/MpCkFyOMed
— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) June 3, 2020
Brees was among those who participated in the “Blackout Tuesday” social campaign.
The 41-year-old also posted a message to Instagram on Wednesday morning.
View this post on Instagram
Words to unite.. A mentor of mine once told me that if you listen closely, the sound of children playing is the same no matter where you are in the world. The laughing, shouting, screaming, giggling… No matter what language you speak, no matter what your race, color, religion… the exact same. At some point we all change… The reasons… Our environment, experiences, education…The voices and influences around us. If you are reading this, you are probably one of those whose voice and influence is very powerful in the life of a young person. So when you ask what difference you can make in this world… It’s exactly that. Raise, teach, but most importantly model to young people what it is to love all and respect all. There is a saying in every locker room I have been in… Don’t just talk about it, be about it. Acknowledge the problem, and accept the fact that we all have a responsibility to make it better. “Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying”
The conversation over taking a knee during the national anthem began with Kaepernick’s silent protest in 2016, but it’s regaining steam in wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Protests have taken place across the country in recent days, with many athletes voicing support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement. It’ll be interesting to see how players use their respective platforms moving forward to fight for racial equality.