Let me start by saying I’ve always liked Drew Brees the player and the person. Prior to today’s baffling statements, Brees has always been a model citizen in the NFL. It should be noted that he gave so much time and money back to New Orleans during and after Hurrican Katrina. His impact in New Orleans has been significant which makes his comments today even more disturbing as Brees said “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country” in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
As you might imagine Brees received a ton of criticism from star athletes across a wide spectrum of sports. Even his own teammates jumped on him which included Malcolm Jenkins, who posted a video saying he was “hurt” by Brees’ comments and that they were “extremely self-centered.” Michael Thomas said “he don’t no better” and Emmanuel Sanders responded via Twitter with Smh.. Ignorant.
Malcolm Jenkins Respond
LeBron James Responds
Aaron Rodgers Responds
Right now, outside of my home office in Northern California, I can hear a Black Lives Matter protest going on. A protest that I participated in earlier in the day with my puppy Rocky. It was the 4-month-old Roc’s first protest. When I say black lives, you say matters yells the crowd. It’s that very point that leaves me wondering how could Drew Brees be so off base to try to turn what is happening in the country into a flag and national anthem stance. I’m not sure Brees was trying to be malicious in his statement, but it was as clear as water is wet that he couldn’t wait to rattle off his personal beliefs. It is that same old stance that politicians and members of the right-wing political movement used 4 years ago to derail what Colin Kaepernick was fighting for.
Over the years I’ve witnessed a lot, and I can tell you that from coast to coast there is indeed a social injustice problem not just with police departments but across the entire fabric of our society. Racism is still a huge problem, even if it’s not always intentional. Take the NFL who’s players are made up of 75% African Americans, yet there are only two African American GM’s and no black team owners in the league. While I doubt Roger Goodell is conducting meetings of some kind of secret society designed to keep African Americans out of power positions in the NFL, still the results don’t lie. The stats point to real racial inequality inside NFL front offices.
It’s been nearly 250 years since America became America and our country is still grappling with social injustice. Our country clearly is in need of major changes to the way police departments operate. It seems to me that the only way to truly invoke change is to actually roll out national police conduct policies on what is right and wrong.
Now, that is easy to write, but hard to actually implement, and change won’t happen overnight but allowing local police departments to try to come up with there own policies will not work at scale. Sure some police departments will clean themselves up, but most will struggle unless there is a national policy set in stone related to police conduct.
Look I don’t think Drew Brees is a bad guy, but he does know better which goes straight to the problem. People often spend so much time in their own world and never venture outside of their comfort zones, but as a member of the National Football League for over 19 years, Brees has not been living in a cocoon.
NFL locker rooms are diverse which means he must be aware of many of the struggles that his teammates have dealt with throughout their lives which means he knew exactly what he was saying during the Yahoo interview and why he was saying it. For Brees to make the comments he made today I wonder if he actually owns a TV.
Seriously, did Brees not see the George Floyd video? Heck, even Tom Hanks saw the video while he was stranded on that island with his imaginary friend “Wilson” in the feature film Cast Away. Has Brees not watched some of the peaceful protests? Is he somehow unaware of the looting going on in the streets across America? What about the unpatriotic move by Donald Trump to create a photo opportunity for himself by pushing peaceful protesters back with a military force looming nearby so he could take a picture out in front of a Church?
Does Brees believe it’s ok for the United States Military to roam the streets of our country? All of these items and more are precisely why he should have answered the question in a different way.
He should have said, I understand if players want to take a knee before games. I understand if players don’t want to lip sink the national anthem. I understand what is going on in the streets of America. I will support my teammates because our country has been tarnished by social injustice for so long that something needs to change. Fixing social injustice issues is way more important than singing a national anthem or saluting a flag that doesn’t equally represent everyone in the country.
The bottom line is Brees wasn’t attacked or provoked into making these comments. Ultimately we got to see a true glimpse of the man who is either laughably unaware of what is going on around him, or so stuck in his archaic beliefs that he can no longer see right from wrong.