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Social media reacts to Drew Brees’ comments that kneeling during the national anthem is “disrespecting the flag”

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Legendary New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is facing backlash after comments he made in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

In response to the death of George Floyd on May 25, protests and demonstrations have engulfed the United States, as well as social media, where hundreds of professional athletes have made their voices heard regarding Floyd’s death and the treatment of the black community in America.

One of those athletes who was asked to comment on the situation was Brees, who participated in a video interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday. In the interview, Brees was asked how he believes the NFL should respond during the upcoming season if players choose to kneel during the national anthem, a method of peacefully protesting police brutality that was popularized by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

Brees offered these thoughts:

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. 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 Corps, 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 … 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 we are all part of the solution.”

Brees’ comments haven’t gone over well, specifically with a number of Brees’ New Orleans Saints teammates, including superstar wide receiver and Brees’ primary target, Michael Thomas.

Thomas posted a series of tweets after Brees’ statements came to light, many of which seemed to be directly aimed at his quarterback.

Thomas wasn’t the only member of the Saints to speak out in response to Brees’ comments. Star running back Alvin Kamara appeared to respond early this afternoon:

And wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders seemingly had his say as well:

The responses didn’t stop in New Orleans.

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman referred to Brees as “beyond lost.”

And former NFL wide receiver Doug Baldwin addressed Brees directly:

Here are a few other responses from fellow NFL players:

NBA superstar LeBron James also spoke out regarding Brees’ comments:

Brees has since sought to clarify his comments, and spoke with ESPN’s Mike Triplett regarding the backlash.

“I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice,” Brees said. “I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.”

Triplett said that via text, Brees also added:

“I believe we should all stand for the national anthem and respect our country and all those who sacrificed so much for our freedoms. That includes all those who marched for women’s suffrage in the 1920s and all those who marched in the civil rights movements and continue to march for racial equality. All of us … EVERYONE … represent that flag. Same way I respect all the citizens of our country … no matter their race, color, religion.

“And I would ask anyone who has a problem with what I said to look at the way I live my life. Do I come across as someone who is not doing my absolute best to make this world a better place, to bring justice and equality to others, and hope & opportunity to those who don’t have it? That’s what I meant by actions speak louder than words. … My ACTIONS speak for themselves.”

Saints coach Sean Payton is yet to address Brees’ comments, but ESPN’s Dianni Russini said that the Saints players she spoke with will aim to handle the matter “in-house.”

One Saints player who spoke out on Brees’ behalf was defensive end Marcus Davenport.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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