New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees issued an apology on Thursday morning through an Instagram post specifically to his friends, teammates, New Orleans, the black community, and “anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday” saying that he “completely missed the mark” on current issues and that “it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.”
The apology came a day after Brees faced backlash and criticism for saying in an interview with Yahoo Finance that he disagreed with players kneeling during the national anthem in protest and would “never agree with anyone disrespecting the flag” of the United States of America.
A proud military supporter with two veteran grandfathers, Brees says he stands with his teammates and will fight for racial equality and justice but will also stand for our military, past and present when it comes to honoring the American flag and standing for the national anthem.
In his apology Brees said in regards to his interview with Yahoo Finance that his words “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.
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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.